Living away from India you realize that “Chicken Curry” or "Curry" is such a generic term used to describe a dish with an array of spices combined with nuts, fruits, coconut milk etc.. I come across many people who have developed their own vision or recipe about an Indian curry that is actually quite far away from the original recipe and how it is made back home. Some of the curry recipes or dishes I come across that are termed Indian have a weird range of nuts, spices and other ingredients. I have friends and colleagues who have no idea about what an authentic curry recipe is and how it tastes.
Of course there are various ways and versions of cooking curry in India itself. Each region makes it own version but something that underlines all of the recipes is simplicity of ingredients. The best chicken curry recipe I have is simple and yet so delicious. This is what I grew up eating and has ingredients that are basic and fundamental to cooking any Indian curry dish.
Back in Mom’s home, Chicken curry (tariwala chicken) would be a common entrée at Sunday lunch, served with boiled rice or rotis and raita. The mere mention of chicken curry, takes me back to my childhood Sundays and no matter how many new recipes I try and create, this is my absolute best.
So here is my mum’s easy chicken curry recipe. Once you make it, you will be licking your plate clean over and over again.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: Less than 30 minutes
500 gms chicken with bones (you can use boneless chicken thighs as well)
1 large onion -made into a paste using a mixer
2 medium tomatoes made into a puree or 1 cup of ready tomato pulp
Ginger-Garlic– chopped fine
1 Green chili – chopped fine
Natural yogurt – ½ cup
Fresh coriander leaves – ¼ cup chopped fine
Oil – 3 tbsp
Salt to taste
1 stick cinnamon – ½ inch
1 - Black cardamom
1 Bay leaf
2 tsp kasoori methi
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Kashmiri red chili powder - ½ tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Garam masala – ½ tsp
Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan. Add the whole spices – cinnamon, black cardamom, bay leaf in hot oil and let them sizzle.
Now add the onion paste and a pinch of salt. Sauté until the water in the onions dry up and the color changes to a light brown. If the onions stick to the bottom of the pan, add a tsp of oil. Add the ginger-garlic paste and green chili and fry a couple of minutes until fragrant.
Next add in the tomato puree and blend it well with the onions. Fry this for a few minutes to cook the puree well. Add a splash of water if the mixture sticks to the bottom. This is the spice paste or as we call it “Masala”. You will be able to see oil on the sides of the masala. This should take 8-10 minutes minutes of medium heat.
Now add in the dry masalas – turmeric, red chili, coriander powder and garam masala and stir in the spices. Add a splash of water so that the spices don’t burn. Give this a good stir and remove the pan from the heat. Now add the yogurt and mix it well with the onion-tomato base and return to the heat. Stir the mixture together and add the in the chicken pieces.
Now cook the chicken pieces in the onion-tomato base for 5 minutes on medium high heat until the chicken is sealed and the well coated with the mixture.
Add in 1 cup of water to the pan so as to make a thin curry and give the ingredients a stir. You can add less or more water depending on the consistency you require.
Sprinkle 1 tsp of kasoori methi by crushing it between the palms of your hands.
Cover the pan with a lid and cook on low heat for approximately 10 minutes or until the chicken is well done. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and let the curry sit for 10 minutes before serving. This curry tastes delicious with a bowl of basmati and raita.