food for thought

by michelle


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Here are a few simple curries which, when served with rice or fresh roti or paratha bread, make a feast!

Given to me by a friend, this recipe for oven-baked chicken curry has many ingredients but is not as complicated as it seems. First, place 8-12 skinless chicken pieces of your choice into a baking dish and sprinkle with at least 4 tablespoons of curry powder. Toss to make sure all the chicken pieces are coated. Finely dice 6 cloves of garlic and an equal amount of fresh ginger and chop 4 large onions. In a fry-pan, heat some ghee or oil and fry the onions until glossy, then add the garlic and ginger, 6 cardamom pods, 4 teaspoons of cumin seeds, 2 sticks of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of turmeric, and 6 fresh red or green chillies. Continue to cook for 5 minutes then remove from heat and pour over the chicken, adding  1 teaspoon of saffron, 2 cups of natural yoghurt, 1 can of coconut milk and salt to taste. Mix through and leave to marinate for a few hours (or overnight in the fridge). When ready to cook, add 6 peeled and quartered potatoes then cover and place the baking dish in a preheated 180C (350F) oven for 2 hours, stirring once, after 1 hour.

Here’s a Bengali eggplant and pea curry adapted from a recipe of Reuben Solomon’s. Heat ghee or oil in a pan and add 1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds, and ½ a teaspoon of fennel seeds, frying until the seeds start to pop. Add 1 finely diced large onion and fry until soft. Next, add one large cubed eggplant and cook for 5 minutes before adding 2 cloves of finely diced garlic, 2 teaspoons of ground coriander, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of chilli powder, 2 bay leaves, ½ a teaspoon of turmeric, 1 cup of fresh or frozen green peas, ½ a teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Cook for 2 minutes then add 1 cup of water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer until the vegetables are cooked but not  too soft.

I find some of the  commercially available curry pastes excellent so I used a Balti-style one for this curry. Heat oil or ghee in a saucepan and fry 3-4 tablespoons of the curry paste, frying until fragrant. Add 500g (1 pound) of pumpkin pieces, 1 cup of red lentils and  4 cups of water. Bring to the boil and simmer until the lentils are beginning to soften. Add 4 diced fresh tomatoes and continue to cook until the lentils are soft. In a small fry-pan, heat a little ghee or oil and fry 20 curry leaves until fragrant but not burnt. Add these to the curry before serving.


Written by michelle picker

April 7, 2011 at 9:46 am

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