Writing a proper recipe for something you normally throw together by eye is really quite difficult! This is another easy and really delicious meal that we make often, but like the Chinese rice cooker chicken and rice, I’ve ummed and ahed over how best to write down how to make it.
The origin of this was me wanting to make more curries without pre-made pastes or sauces, and also wanting to use some of the wonderful fresh turmeric my mum grows. The result was a mild, though wonderfully aromatic curry of chicken, with huge amounts of fresh ginger, garlic and turmeric. It’s incredibly flexible, as you can add any vegetables, spice up with extra chilli, add extra flavour with things like lemongrass or lime leaves, and make with different meats or tofu, noting that beef or lamb will need to cook for quite a bit longer.
So, on to the recipe, which I’ve decided to write like I make it, i.e. with a distant lack of precision and a touch of flair… If that sounds somewhat unhelpful, note that I have added lots of pictures :)
Cut boneless chicken thighs into chunks (I use about 1kg to make two meals for four of us), and brown in a small amount of oil in a large heavy pan. The browning meat juices do add to the flavour, but you could skip this step if rushed, just adding the raw chicken once you’ve cooked all the aromatics.
Depending on the size of the pan, you can next either remove the chicken, or brown the aromatics with the chicken if the pan is big enough for it all to fry rather than stew. Either way, add a couple of chopped onions, and cook until starting to soften and brown. Add about four cloves of garlic, a thumb sized piece of turmeric and twice as much ginger, all finely chopped. You could also add a crushed lemon grass stalk and a chopped chilli here if you like.
After a few minutes, add a couple of tablespoons of curry powder. I use that old classic Keens curry powder (in the orange tin) , but any fairly generic blend would be fine. Return the chicken to the pan, and toss everything together. Add a small tin of coconut cream (270ml), a large pinch of salt, and enough water to almost cover the chicken.
Put a lid on the pan and simmer for about ten minutes, before adding vegetables and simmering partially covered until chicken and vegetables are tender (about 30 min in total). if using potato, sweet potato or similar, you might want to add them earlier to make sure they’re cooked through.
Taste for seasoning – you might want to add a bit more salt, some fish or chilli sauce, or even a squeeze of lemon or lime.
Serve scattered with handfuls of chopped fresh coriander over basmati rice, and if you want beautifully scented yellow rice like above, add some more chopped turmeric (or powder) with a couple of cardamom pods and half a cinnamon stick to the rice when cooking. A bowl of peas and a few papadums wouldn’t go astray!