I recently spent a morning with an Indian friend learning how to make authentic Indian curry and came away feeling completely inspired – and wanting to visit India! Ritika told me how she came to the UK to study when she was 19, having never cooked a thing at home. After a few months here, she missed her mum’s cooking so much, she was forced to learn how to do it herself. She is now an accomplished home cook.
She taught me how to make this simple chicken curry, using her mum’s homemade garam masala, all the way from Mumbai. This would make a great Friday night supper for two tired parents, unable to do much more than lift fork from plate to mouth. It can be made in advance and will taste even better the next day. Serve with rice or homemade roti.
EASY CHICKEN CURRY
You will need
2tbsp vegetable oil
dried bay leaves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, cardamom pod, dried red chilli
2 red onions, diced
1 fresh green chilli, diced
1tsp fresh ginger, grated
1tsp fresh garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp turmeric
½tsp ground coriander
½tsp ground cumin
½tsp chilli powder
2tbsp tomato passata (or a couple of fresh tomatoes, chopped)
4 cubes frozen spinach (optional)
2 large chicken breasts, diced
½tsp garam masala
dash of cream or milk
What to do
1. Heat the oil in a heavy oven-proof dish and add a couple of dried bay leaves, a few peppercorns, a small piece of cinnamon stick, a cardamom pod or two and a little dried chilli. Let these spices cook for a few minutes.
2. Add the onion and the green chilli and cook until the onion starts to caramelise – a good few minutes. This will add sweetness to your final dish.
3. Now add the ginger and garlic and stir well, cook for another couple of minutes.
4. Add the turmeric, salt, coriander and cumin. Once these have been added, you shouldn’t cook for much longer before adding the tomato, as you risk burning the spices.
5. Add the tomato and stir again. Once the oil starts to separate, that’s when you know you are ready to add the spinach, or if you’re not using spinach, the chicken. So, add the spinach if using and cook through. If using the oven (see below) this is the point at which you should preheat the oven to 190 degrees (170 fan).
6. Otherwise, turn the heat down and add the chicken and a cup or two of water, then continue to stir, cooking through. Bring to a simmer, cover and allow to cook for approx 30 minutes on the hob, or until the chicken is cooked through. You can do this in the oven, if you prefer.
6. Once the chicken is fully cooked – and your kitchen is filled with a wonderful aroma – remove the pan from the oven or the hob and stir in the garam masala. Finally, add a dash of cream or milk.
Serve with basmati rice, homemade roti or naan bread. And perhaps a cheeky lager, as it’s Friday.