Chopping onions and garlic and then adding them to a combination of chicken and shop-bought curry sauce or paste and chopped tomatoes, is great. But it’s not cooking a curry from scratch. And believe me, you can really taste the difference. This recipe, which is adapted from a Hairy Bikers one I read some time ago, may seem complicated and like it involves a lot of ingredients but you’ll already have a lot of them in the cupboard and it’s simpler than it first reads. And my gosh, it’s T.A.S.T.Y. Enjoy!
4 chicken breasts
30g low fat natural yoghurt
A sprinkle of black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
20g fresh root ginger, grated
10 cardamon pods (but you want the black seed bits inside), crushed
1 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder (feel free to use more if you like things hot!)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp ground cloves (dark brown, you’ll find this in the spice section at any good supermarket)
1 tbsp plain flour
A healthy pinch of saffron
2 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp double cream
Fresh coriander (optional)
Chop your chicken breasts in to bite-size chunks and then pop in a bowl with the yoghurt and black pepper. Give a good stir to ensure the chicken is fully coated, then cover the bowl with cling film and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.
Next heat a little sunflower oil in a large saucepan, casserole dish or wok and fry the onions with the garlic and ginger. Stir for 10 minutes, until the onion is soft and very lightly browning.
Then add the crushed cardamon seeds, coriander, cumin, turmeric, chilli powder, cloves and bay leaf. Put the bay leaf in whole – you’ll need to fish this out later. Cook for 5 minutes, continually stirring.
Stir in the flour, saffron, caster sugar and salt. Then gradually add 250ml of cold water, while continuing to stir.
Bring to a simmer and pop a lid on your pan. Cook for 8-10 minutes but be sure to check and stir every few minutes to ensure the ingredients aren’t sticking too much. If this happens add a splash of water and stir vigorously.
Take the pan off of the heat, remove the bay leaf and add your mixture to a blender. Allow it to cool a bit and then blend until smooth – this will take 2-3 minutes in most good blenders. This is a good time to start cooking your rice, should you be planning on having some.
Then pop the smooth mixture back in to the pan and bring to a simmer. There’s no need to clean it in between – good, eh? Meanwhile, take the chicken out of the fridge, drain of any excess yoghurt and add to the sauce. Add the double cream and cook everything for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Make sure the chicken is cooked through properly – the cooking time will vary depending on how big your chicken chunks are – and then add a little salt and pepper before serving. Garnish with fresh coriander, if you so desire, team with rice and let the compliments roll in.