My Very Own Indian Style Chicken Curry
I don't know how many times I have Googled to find a recipe for a tasty Indian, authentic curry, only to be very, very disappointed. My favourite types of curry are Pathia, Dansak, Mahkani and Jalfrezi and these are usually what I would order from my local Indian restaurant.
I have tried around thirty recipes that involve various techniques of pre-cooking batches of onions or spending time making a base sauce; or indeed mixing up your own curry paste, but they never, ever come out very good and involve what I believe to be a huge amount of effort. They taste like they came out of a convenience "ready to cook" jar which kind of defeats the point of all the efforts involved. There is nothing more disappointing than discovering it tastes medicore after hours of cooking and effort!
So I decided - enough is enough - I'm going to get intuitive with this! I'm going to use my experience in the kitchen (I spend enough time there!) to try to make a simple recipe which tastes great nonetheless using my common sense rather than following a specific recipe. I know which spices I enjoy the taste and smell of, so why cannot I devise a recipe that works? I'm going to try to improvise as I go along and hope the results will be successful.
Starting With The Onions...
Here I've chopped two very large onions which I have found is usually the base of the curry. Rather than fry them in a saucepan for one hour (which is what I was advised to do by an Indian colleague of mine - they went green when I did this previously incidently!) I simply chopped them and cooked them in the oven thirty minutes with two cloves of crushed garlic. No hovering over a saucepan stirring for me, simply pop them in, slap a lid on and leave to cook. I did not add any extra water at this stage as onions retain quite a lot of water in themselves which they release when cooked.
Which Spice Is Right?
If you're like me with an interest in spicing things up, you've probably experimented a lot with various flavours, and you soon grow to know which ones you love and which ones you detest. I personally love the smell of cumin, and after having persevered with random Indian recipes, you grow to know which spices are normally used in the dishes. So, I trawled through my spice rack and selected the usual suspects: ground coriander, ground cumin, ground ginger, tumeric, chilli, more garlic (powder form this time) and salt. I also added four whole peppercorns, four cardamon pods and two bay leaves (to be removed prior to serving - it's useful to use numbers that you'll remember to note the quantities so you know when you've found them all!)
In my opinion, this is not a huge array of spices and I kept the amounts simple; one lid full of each (which is approximately 1 teaspoon) with the exception of ground cumin where I added one and half as this is my favourite spice.
Keep It Simple...
Doing just that, I added these spices all at once to my slowly cooking onions which are just starting to brown a little in their ovenproof dish with lid firmly attached.
I then added some hot water to the mix and stirred to let the flavours infuse for a while before adding four - uncooked and completely raw - chicken thighs. This was then returned to oven and left to slowly cook at a low temperature with the lid on for around an hour, allowing the chicken to absorb all those wonderful flavours. Keeping the lid on keeps the chicken moist as the steam has nowhere to escape to and ensures the sauce does not dry out.
(Meanwhile, I'm hanging up the washing to dry and making sausage rolls with the kids while the oven does all the hard work - my kind of recipe!)
My partner HATES chicken on the bone, whereas I love it. I think it is juicy and succulent - he finds it hard to eat off the bones, therefore, I try to compromise and cook it whole to get the flavour, but remove the skin and bones prior to serving. Most recipes call for you to fry and brown the chicken to seal in the juices, but you know what, that is an extra stage of the cooking process that can simply be removed (as long as you are cooking the curry for a very long time). The meat will just fall off the bones when it is ready.
The sauce will be looking a nice light brown colour, but it needs something to just give it a little more substance: tomato puree. I added two large spoonfuls and gave the whole thing a stir up. The tumeric gives the sauce a staining quality, so be careful where you lay the spoon!
And that is it! Leave to cook a little longer, should you wish the sauce to be a little thicker, remove the lid while you cook the rice and prepare any other extras but that is essentially it. And considering I made it up as I went along, it was pretty tasty!
Don't Be Scared To Experiment
In summary, the point of this hub is to not be scared to experiment. Why should we feel like there is a right or a wrong way to prepare a dish? Here I have used a whole host of fresh ingredients, the source of which I am aware, and nothing has been standing in a jar for a long time. It is cheap to make; effortless to prepare and above all, tasty.
I dare to you try your own recipe and not to follow this one!
And Do You Know What The Best Thing Is About Curry?
Well? Do you?
The very best thing about it is the simple fact that any leftovers you have will simply taste even better the next day as the flavours have infused even further overnight. And that is why I love curry!
I'm looking forward to my lunch tomorrow already! Yum!
© 2011 Earthy Mother