The inspiration for this ‘Simple Homestyle Chicken Curry’ started with a visit to one of my favourite Indian restaurants in London, Chutney Mary. During this visit, I was talking with the restaurant manager about my interest in cooking Indian food and he mentioned a book that was written by Camellia Panjabi. Several weeks later, the restaurant very kindly sent me a copy of the book after I had written thanking them for the great food and service, mentioning my interest in the book. The book is called ’50 Great Curries of India’.
It really is one of the best guides to creating authentic Indian curries. If you only buy one curry recipe book, make it this one. It doesn’t just contain recipes, it is also an education and an insight into the philosopy and the very essence of what Indian cooking is about. Camellia Panjabi was born in Mumbai. She studied Economics at Cambridge but subsequently was the Marketing Director of Taj Hotels group in India. In 1982 having had a lifelong passion for regional Indian cuisine she opened the Bombay Brasserie in London. At the time this new restaurant was revelation as it introduced dishes never seen before in Indian restaurants in London. Finally in 2001, Camellia joined the family restaurant company, Masala World, in London. They own Chutney Mary, Veeraswamy, Masala Zone and Amaya Zone. I believe that these restaurants should definitely be on the bucket list for Indian food enthuisiasists. I haven’t yet tried Masala Zone or Amaya Zone but have read very good reviews about them.
This recipe is taken from the book. My only alterations to the original recipe are that I use less oil, don’t add salt and add some dried chillies to increase the heat of the dish. I also cook the onions over a lower heat to soften them without over browning them as I prefer the taste. This is a great recipe to use leftover chicken. We often have roast chicken for Sunday lunch and buy a big enough chicken so we can make a curry during the week.
450 g chicken (can use fillets, thighs or drumsticks and leftover cooked chicken is fine)
1 tablespoon of oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic
5 mm square piece of fresh ginger chopped
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch of tumeric powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 level teaspoon of dried chillies
2 tomatoes chopped
Chopped coriander leaves to garnish
- Heat the oil in a heavy pan with a lid. Add the onion and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes.
- Add the garlic and ginger and fry for 1 minute.
- Add the ground coriander and stir for a further minute.
- Then add the tumeric, cumin, garam masala, paprika and dried chillies and sauté for 30 seconds.
- Add 200 ml of water and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, stir well and cook for another 5 minutes.
- The curry sauce is now ready so you can add the chicken and a further 300 ml of water.
- If using cooked chicken, cook for another 20-30 minutes but if using uncooked chicken, cook for about 45 minutes and brown the chicken off before adding to the sauce.
- Sprinkle with chopped coriander just before serving.
- Serve with some plain boiled rice or with chapatis
For a milder curry, half the dried chillies or leave them out altogether. As you experiment with this recipe you can develop a version that suits your taste and tolerance for spice. You can also use fresh chillies if you prefer. Add them at the stage you add the garlic and ginger.