Monday, 20 February 2012

Chicken Curry

I have often written about the influence that the women in my family have had on my love of food. My Mum and Grandma are the root of my passion (obsession?) for cooking but they are not solely responsible...

Like many children of the 1980s, my Dad's contribution to our daily meals was primarily as the breadwinner.  My memories of his adventures in the kitchen were scrambled egg or toastie based, and of course sausage and baked bean pizzas (popularised by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, although I think you might have to be born in 1981 to truly understand...).  He was never deterred by a lack of knowledge or experience in the kitchen and was always willing to try something new.  Dad is responsible for my urge to photograph everything I cook, I have often heard the story about him baking gingerbread for my Mum, early in their relationship, and taking photos of the results!  He was a keen photographer as I was growing up and I loved sitting with him in our makeshift darkroom helping him to develop photographs.

Dad is an inspiring man for so many reasons, not least for his desire to keep on learning and to never rest on his laurels.  After taking voluntary redundancy from the shipyards, about 10 years ago, he found a local class teaching curry making (as well as CAD, picture framing and Italian for tourists, to name a few!) and signed up.  The results were spectacular!  His curries became so legendary amongst family and friends that my Mum and Godmother, not to be outdone, took the same class a few years later!  Since then, his confidence in the kitchen has grown and he can often be found in there, slicing, stirring and creating.

It is still his curries that my Dad is known for, however, and this recipe was stolen (with permission) from him as he cooked last night.

Dad's Chicken Curry

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely sliced
a thumb-sized piece of root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 green chilli, roughly chopped
1 tsp salt
2 black cardamon pods
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cinnamon stick
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
150ml water
1 heaped tsp garam masala
1 tbsp dried methi (optional)
3 chicken breast fillets, cut into bitesized pieces

  • In a food processor, blitz the ginger, garlic and chill together to make a thick paste.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy based saucepan and add the onion, fry until it is soft and starting to colour.
  • Add the ginger, garlic and chilli paste and fry for 2 minutes more.
  • Add salt, cardamon pods, tumeric, cumin and cinnamon stick and stir until the smell of the spices become stronger.  Add chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and water and stir well and bring the sauce to the boil.  Turn the heat right down and cover the pan, simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Turn the heat up and add the chicken pieces, stir gently until the meat has sealed.  Simmer the mixture until the chicken is just cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  • Before serving, stir the garam masala and, if you are using it, methi into the sauce.

(Apologies for the photo, I took it on my phone!) 

  • You can also add chopped fresh coriander before serving.

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