Thursday, October 28, 2010

Friday Night Chicken Curry

Nothing beats a good curry on a Friday night whether you are home alone, cooking for your family or for a crowd of people. I have loved curries for a very long time and whenever I go home one of the first things I want to eat is a curry from a local Indian restaurant or takeaway. Here in Canada where I live there aren't really any Indian restaurants so when I get that curry craving I make my own which is just as delicious and hits the spot perfectly!

My Friday Night Chicken Curry

This makes a lovely, creamy and mildly spiced curry with plenty of sauce to mop up with naan bread. The heat of the curry depends on how hot the fresh chilli is and also the curry powder you use. If you prefer a really mild curry simply use less chilli or miss it out completely. Also if you prefer a thicker curry half the quantity of chicken stock and cream.

I tend to use chicken breasts for this recipe and just add them for the last 10 minutes of cooking, to keep the chicken nice and moist. If you prefer however, you could easily use chicken thighs instead. This is a good option if you want to make the curry in advance as the thighs can quite happily cook for a while without drying out. If using thighs I would suggest 8-10 good sized boneless and skinless thighs and simply add them to the pan after the onion and garlic have sautéed.

Serve this curry with saffron and cardamom rice (see below), mango chutney, raita and lots of naan bread.

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
5 green cardamom pods, slightly crushed
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground ginger
2 tsp curry powder
1 stick of cinnamon, broken in half
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled & finely grated
100ml passata or crushed tomatoes
400ml tin of coconut milk
250ml chicken stock
½ tsp sugar
2 small bay leaves
125ml whipping (double) cream
4 skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
Salt and pepper
4 tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped

In a large saucepan or wok heat the oil then add the sliced onions. Cook over a medium heat for roughly 5 minutes until they have softened but not browned. Add the garlic and chilli and continue to cook for a further minute before adding the cardamom pods, turmeric, coriander, cumin, ginger, curry powder, cinnamon stick and half of the ginger. Stir well and cook for a couple of minutes then add the passata, coconut milk, chicken stock, sugar, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Leave to simmer uncovered for 30 minutes before adding the chicken and half of the cream. Simmer and reduce again for a further 7 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and the cinnamon stick and continue to simmer gently for a further 2-3 minutes or until the chicken is properly cooked through. Just before serving add the remaining cream, ginger and half of the coriander. Serve with the rest of the coriander sprinkled over the top of the curry.

Cardamom & Saffron Rice

285g/ 10oz basmati rice
Small pinch of salt
Small pinch of saffron strands
3 cardamom pods, crushed
2 tbsp coriander, chopped (optional)

Cook the rice according to the packet instructions adding the salt, saffron and cardamom to the water. Once it is ready, drain well then fluff up with a fork. Just before serving scatter over the chopped coriander.

Cucumber Raita
250ml/ 1 cup plain natural yogurt
½ cucumber, cut in half lengthwise
1 fat spring onion, finely sliced
Handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
Salt & pepper

Remove the seeds from the cucumber halves then cut each piece into 4 batons, then cut across the way so that you have small diced pieces. After that simply combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir well. Season to taste and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.


  1. Your curry looks lovely & the recipe sounds as though it would be really aromatic, I've bookmarked it :)

  2. Thanks LilaVanilla! Let me know if you make it and if you like it. I've just been reading your blog - everything looks so good! Now off to look at your cake website....hmmm want cake now!

  3. Hello lynds.

    As a complete curry fanatic and working with spices on a daily basis I hope you don't mind me suggesting a slightly different way to cook your dish.

    Firstly I would always use leg meat as it's sweeter for a dish like this. Breast can be too dry. I would also marinate the meat first for at least 1hr in yogurt, Ginger/garlic paste, turmeric and lemon. This breaks the proteins down in the chicken so it's more tender and absorbes the flavouring better. I would then fry that off in a pan with groundnut oil as it stands the heat better. Firstly flavouring the oil with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and star anise in the pan for literally 1 min then add the chicken and cook till it's 75% done and take out.

    All the whole spices for your main curry add to your oil and do the same for 1 min then add the onions till soft then add your powder spices and cook for at least 3 mins then add all the Ginger and garlic for 1min. Ginger needs to be cooked for a long time to break the enzymes down so it's not stringy and hard to eat.

    Also try leaving the chicken stock out. Once you have added the tomato cover and let it simmer without stirring it for at least 10mins then add the marinated chicken. This creates enough stock and your coconut milk will loosen everything up. Just before you add the coconut milk add 1tbsp of tomato purée.

    And for the raita try salting it for 8mins first then rinsing. This draws out all the impurities within the cucumber and some moisture. It stops the raita going watery and if you don't eat it all it allows it to be stored. Also add a pinch of cumin or garam masala and 1/2 tsp of purée garlic then mix the mint strands through.

    I hope you don't mind me giving some suggestions. Curry is so versatile but if we can get the core cooking of it right then it takes the dish to a new level.

    Let me know what you think.

    Jonathon Davies (britains best dish winner 2010)

  4. Hi Lynds - I think your curry looks amazing and right up my street! I'm not a fan of anything too spicy so yours looks perfect. I like Jonathon's idea of marinading the chicken, but I will do the rest exactly as you describe (I prefer chicken breasts). Thanks for sharing it! :)

  5. Thanks for all of your comments! Jonathon I appreciate your expert advice. This is definitely just a easy cook home curry from a very non-chef! That being said Im looking forward to trying your suggestions as I love curries and it's always great to try new ways of cooking things. Hope the rest of you enjoy it : )


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