- Food & Drink
I’m British and am therefore obsessed with the weather. Splashing to the bus stop in sandals, cooking in my own coat and wellies at the park, being temporarily blinded by wind-whipped hair; however I am dressed, I am dressed inappropriately. And my fridge is stocked inappropriately, too.
After a warm but grey day, the sky gave into the inevitable and emptied buckets of water down my kitchen windows. The salad leaves and olive oil and feta suddenly seemed like mockery. Is that any kind of meal to serve when you’re thinking about filling up your hot water bottle?
So they’ve been ditched, the chicken thighs in my freezer have been defrosted and a chicken curry conjured up to brighten my wet August evening. This is an English chicken curry. The sort of sweet, saucy curry that anyone who knows anything about regional Indian cuisine would decry as an abomination. People have reached for their pitchforks and flaming brands and stormed the castle for less.
It is, however, excellent, greedy comfort food. It’s rich and silky and you’ll groan with calories afterwards. As soon as I’ve pressed Publish on this, I am going to lie down on the sofa, cradle my curry-stuffed belly and sleep (with a hot water bottle by my side).
English chicken curry
Serves 2 generously
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp medium curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
700g chicken thighs, skinned, deboned and chopped into 3 chunks each (or use about 500g pre-prepared skinned, boneless chicken thighs)
2 tbsp plain flour
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
25g fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 sharp green eating apple, peeled, cored and chopped
400ml can coconut milk
1 tbsp tomato purée
Cooked Basmati rice and chopped fresh coriander leaves, to serve
1 Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a dry frying pan for 2–3 minutes until they are aromatic and popping. Tip into a pestle and mortar and grind into a powder. Stir in the curry powder and turmeric. Set aside. Dip the chicken thighs in the flour, shaking off any excess and set aside.
2 Melt the butter over a low heat and then add the onion. Fry gently for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Add the spice mix and fry for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the celery, garlic, chilli and ginger and fry for a further 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the chicken and fry for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the apple, coconut milk and tomato purée. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened and the chicken is tender.
3 Meanwhile, cook enough Basmati rice for two people. I normally go for a handful for each person and one for the pot, but 60g each will be more than enough.
4 Taste the curry and season with salt to taste. Divide the rice between two warmed plates and top with the curry. If you’re taking a picture and want it to look nice, garnish with a little chopped fresh coriander. Serve immediately.