Chicken Curry (red)

13 Oct

There must be as many chicken curries as there are kitchens and this is mine, it is red from paprika, tomatoes and pureed red peppers. Simple robust and a great winter dish. I make it in a slow cooker so that it is ready at the end of the day but you could also cook it in an oven or the stove top in a heavy pan in less time.

  • 1 free range chicken
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 stick cinammon
  • 2 large onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4cm piece of ginger
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 2 hot green chillis
  • 3 dried hot chillis
  • 2 tbsp red pepper paste
  • water

1/4 tsp black pepper corns
1 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp fenugreek seed (optional)
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp coriander seed
4 cloves
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
Wash the chicken and butcher into small portions. Dust the chicken with 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp turmeric and set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. To make the masala grind the whole spices to a powder then add the paprika and turmeric. Grate or blitz in a blender the ginger, garlic and onion, the paste will give the curry a thick sauce, if you don’t want a thick sauce just chop the onions, ginger and garlic. Peel and chop the tomatoes. De-seed and chop the fresh chillis.
In a large wide pan heat a little vegetable oil and fry the chicken pieces, turning until they are browned on all sides, then remove and lay in a large cooking pot (a heavy bottomed stove top, a slow cooker or covered oven dish; something that can cook the curry slowly for several hours). Into the same pan the chicken came out of put the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick, then add the onion paste and fry until golden and the raw smell has cooked out. Add the masala powder and fry for two or three minutes add the tomatoes and chillis, both fresh & dried and add a little water. Stir to mix well then tip the whole lot over the chicken pieces. Stir, cover and cook for 4-6 hours in a slow cooker or 1-2 hours on the stove or in the oven. Serve sprinkled with coriander and along with rice or chapatis.

Variations I sometimes add a little anis powder, mace blades or grated nutmeg to the masala. This recipe makes a fine chicken curry without the tomatoes and peppers too but it won’t be red.

Cook’s Note Add enough water to cover the chicken if using stove top or oven methods. If using a slow cooker you only need to use a little water as the slow cooker retains most of the liquid. In the winter months I use frozen or bottled tomatoes. If you don’t have red pepper paste just add a fresh sweet red pepper or jar of preserved red peppers when making the onion paste.


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