Curry isn't usually the first thing I decide to took when the sun comes out, but this recipe (inspired by Madhur Jaffrey's Nagore chicken curry) is the perfect balance between rich, warming and refreshing. This is the perfect spring curry. It's light enough to feel healthy but still filling. It's not quite salad and picnic weather yet. The spice mix needs a little prep, but the rest can be thrown together. Make sure you use good chillies or double the amount of rubbish ones from the supermarket. The last time I made this I used rubbish Co-op chillies and the curry was tasty but definitely lacking. Usually I suggest tweaking the spice levels to suit your taste but this recipe works best with a bit of a kick. If you want a curry recipe where you can play with the spice levels, try our creamy seafood curry instead.
Spring Chicken Curry (serves 2 with leftovers for lunch)
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
For the spice mix:
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- 2 tsp of dried red chilli flakes
- Black pepper
- 2 red onions, finely sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced (or crushed, if you can find the little bit that goes inside your garlic crusher)
- 4 chicken breasts, skin removed and diced
- 3 tomatoes, finely sliced
- 1 tin coconut milk
- 3 green chillies
- 1tsp turmeric
- 4 cardamom pods, crushed
- Half a bag of spinach
- Handful of coriander
- Fry the spices lightly in a little oil, taking care not to burn them. The smell of burnt spices is vile and you'll be able to taste it at the back of your throat for ages.
- Grind the spices as finely as you can. Don't skimp on this part. You need to really go at them so if you have a grinder, let it do the work for you. Otherwise use a pestle and mortar for twice as long as you think you need to. Ten minutes should do it, which will feel like ages but it's worth it.
- Fry the onions and garlic together on a low heat until softened.
- Then add the chicken and the spice mix and stir until the chicken is coated.
- When the chicken is browned, add the tomatoes and reduce them down to a thick sauce. If it's getting a little dry, add a little water.
- Add the tin of coconut milk and other spices and let the curry simmer gently for about 15 minutes. If you cook it too quickly, the coconut milk will separate so be patient.
- When you're nearly very very hungry, throw in the spinach and stir until cooked.
- Serve with loads of fluffy white rice with a sprinkling of coriander over the top.