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

  1. 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.
  2. Add turmeric, chilli, coriander, fennel, cumin, paprika, salt and vinegar and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Serves 6-8