The first time I ever had this chicken curry was at my brother’s house and he’d tweaked several version over the years to find a perfect format to cook this delicacy because one bite and I was hooked, so lush and delectable was this particular chicken curry that I had to ask him for the recipe which he most graciously provided and so here I am, trying to do justice by cooking it exactly as he’d asked me, because the point of this whole recipe is the different stages and the precise ways of cooking.
The gravy is a rich velvety emulsion of tomatoes, onions and spices and the consistency can vary according to what one likes to eat it with. Thicker gravy for when you eat it with bread and a bit thinner if eaten with rice, though I must say that it’s rice which brings out, almost helps to bloom each flavour of this curry. Rice provides, in my opinion, a better base than bread for this chicken curry and so I’ve cooked this accordingly.
Spices for chicken marinade. Turmeric, Black pepper and some lemon.
add spices to the chicken
squeeze in the lemon and throw in the rind while marinating and add some oil.
Rub the spices into the chicken and cover to let marinate for an hour.
To make onion gravy, which is really the base of this curry we need a bay leaf, a cinnamon stick, some cardamom seeds sans green shell, a few cloves, some garlic and onions which will go into a blender to get a smooth spice enriched onion paste.
So we have an onion paste made with all the spices and some crushed tomatoes which I made by blending one large tomato.
To make the curry, add some oil to a wok or pan of choice and let it come to near smoking, after which add the now marinated chicken and let sear boldly on one side until deliciously bronzed before turning.
Let it sear on the second size and bear with me while I do this because it might come as something odd, but we will make the curry in the wok with the chicken still in it instead of fishing it out.
Add the onion paste and cook continuously taking care that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
the onion paste should begin thickening after a few minutes
Once thickened add garam masala, salt and plenty of black pepper and stir well to combine
Once all the spices are mixed in add the crushed tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until you reach a thickened gravy consistency
Once the tomatoes have cooked in with the onions add some chicken stock or water.
Little by little while continuously stirring
Add some more black pepper and stock/water until you reach the desired consistency and let cook.
Add a half teaspoon of sugar to balance out the tastes. This won’t sweeten the curry. Cook and check for seasonings. Add salt if needed and let bubble away covered for at least 5 minutes.
For the marinate
Black pepper: 1 tsp
Lemon: 2 tsp
Marinate the chicken with the spices, lemon and oil and let rest for an hour or overnight in the fridge.
Ingredients for curry
Chicken: 300g bone in
Cicken stock or water: 250-400mls
Onion: 1 large or 2 small
Garlic cloves: 3-4
Bay leaf: 1
Cinnamon stick: 1
Caradmom seeds: from 2-3 pods
Black pepper: 2-3 tsps
Garam masala: 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Sugar: 1/2 tsp
Tomatoes: 1 large or 2 small
Blend together the onions, cinnamon stick, garlic cloves, bay leaf and cardamom pods to a paste and crush tomatoes separately.
Note: use only the seeds and not the green shells of the cardamom pods.
In a large wok heat oil and add the marinated chicken to sear on both sides. Once each side is evenly brown add the onion paste and cook until golden and fragrant.
Sprinkle in garam masala, salt and a teaspoon of black pepper and cook for a minute before adding in the crushed tomatoes and cook until gravy is thickened and the tomatoes aren’t raw anymore.
Add in the stock or water in small batches stirring it in continuously to homogenize with the mixture until the desired consistency has reached and add in the remaining black pepper and sugar and let the curry bubble away another 5 minutes covered.
Finally check for seasonings and add salt if needed.
Serve over a bed of hot rice or with flatbreads.