I have just finished teaching a short cookery course. During the course we decided that the recipe we would cook more than any other is the ultimate reliable simple chicken curry. This keeps happening on the courses I teach. Everyone loves curry, it’s unanimous. I make it at least once a week and recently as a family we have been enjoying curry nights on a Saturday evening in a bid to get the children to love it as much as us parents.
With the addition of the multi layered loveliness of parathas to soak up all the richly spiced gravy and a dollop or two of sweet mango chutney, the children are now accepting of a chicken curry. They are as yet unconvinced about lentils, so the dhal gets pushed to the side of the plate after one spoonful. I need to work on this. But the joy of tucking into a Saturday night curry feels like such an achievement after so many year of trying AND I have noticed I am no longer in need of adding loads of cream and coconut to the curry to make to edible for the kids. Now that’s progress.
Going back to the last cookery lesson, the reason it has stuck in my mind is down to the generosity of one of the learners. A Mauritian lady, a mother to five children. She was kind enough to bring chicken curry to feed us all. Individually packed up in little boxes, still warm and smelling divine. She unpacked this picnic, along with napkins, place-mats, salad and a coconut dessert for the girl who did not eat meat.
This was and is the best curry I have eaten. Do you know why? Simply because this dish was made with a kindness of spirit. By someone who genuinely loves to cook, eat and share good food. A celebration of what a family dish should be, made by someone who cares about what her children eat and feeds them well, teaching her children as she cooks. And what a lesson to learn. If her five children only ever learn how to make this humble chicken curry they have achieved something great in life. A lesson to us all.
- -4tbsp oil,
- -2 medium onions finely diced,
- -1tbsp ginger finely chopped,
- -1tbsp garlic finely chopped,
- -A large handful of fresh curry leaves,
- -4/5 chicken breasts cut into chunks or 8/10 skinned and de-boned chicken thighs cut into chunks,
- -2-3tbsp Caribbean hot curry powder (Rajah brand),
- -1tbsp tomato paste,
- -1 454g tin of tomatoes,
- -1 cup of water or chicken stock (approx 250ml),
- -10 new potatoes cooked and peeled,
- -1 bunch coriander roughly chopped
- 1. Warm the oil in a large saucepan then add in the onions, garlic and ginger. Fry them together on a medium heat until the onions begin to soften. This will take around 10 minutes. Next, add the curry leaves to the pan and continue to fry for a couple of minutes,
- 2. Stir in the curry powder and fry for 5 minutes adding a splash of water if the spices begin to catch on the bottom of the pan,
- 3. Now add the tomato paste to the pan along with the chopped up chicken and some seasoning. Cook the chicken until it is coated in the spices and beginning to colour, which will take around 5 minutes,
- 4. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and the water/stock. Bring the curry to the boil then turn it down to a simmer and cook over a medium heat (partly cover the pan with a lid) for abut 25 minutes,
- 5. Add in the cooked new potatoes and cook the curry for 5 more minutes adding a little extra water if the curry sauce has reduced too much,
- 6. Remove the curry from the heat and stir in the bunch of chopped coriander,
- 7. Serve the curry with plenty of boiled basmati rice and some mango chutney, naan breads or parathas and raita.
- This curry will feed a family of between 4-6 people along with the rice and the breads and dips.