The other day I was watching Food Safari and saw Charmaine Solomon, a pioneer of Sri Lankan cooking in Australia, make her chicken curry. She apparently has been cooking the same recipe for the last 20 years, so I knew it must be good. The recipe below is based on her recipe, with the addition of some vege to make this a great one-pot dish. I’ve also omitted the pandan leaf which gets added towards the end as they aren’t readily available to me.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
10 curry leaves
2 large onions, finely chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground fennel
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tomatoes, chopped
6 cardamom pods, bruised
1 stick cinnamon
1 stalk lemon grass, outer leaves removed and bashed with the reverse side of a knife
1.5kg chicken thigh cutlets, cut into 4cm cubes
1 cup thick coconut milk
1/2 cauliflower, cut into small florets
500g butternut pumpkin, peeled and seeds removed and cut into 2cm cubes
1/2 cup frozen or fresh peas
fresh coriander, rice and yoghurt to serve
- In a large pan, heat oil and fry fenugreek and curry leaves until they start to brown, about 1 minute. Add onions, garlic and ginger and fry gently until onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add turmeric, chilli, coriander, fennel, cumin, paprika, salt and vinegar and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Stir through tomatoes, cardamom, cinnamon stick and lemon grass. Add chicken and stir over medium heat until chicken is sealed and thoroughly coated with the spices. Cover and cook over a low heat for 40-50 minutes until the chicken is tender and the gravy has developed.
- Add coconut milk, cauliflower and pumpkin and cook uncovered until soft, about 10 minutes. Add peas and cook for a further 2 minutes until warmed through. Serve hot with coriander, rice and yoghurt.