I used to love my Mum’s simple chicken curry with its distinctive flavour of green peppers and whole spices. Ironically though, when visiting my parents’ home, Mum would often ask me to make ‘my’ chicken curry to give her respite from her own cooking.
Now let’s get this right, my version of chicken curry is based on a combination of ingredients from two different cultures. As with many of my recipes, my Bengali roots call for the use of ‘panch phoron’ (five spice mix), which (to me) lends the curry a nostalgic flavour, vaguely reminiscent of my grandma’s cooking. However, the use of fried onions and yoghurt is more akin to a Pakistani-style Korma, very much influenced by my mother-in-law’s cookery which I was introduced to more than some 20 years ago…
I have replaced the whole spices used in my Mum’s original recipe with my home ground garam masala (owing to the somewhat fussy eating habits in my household) and substituted the green peppers with red ones to lend the curry a subtle, yet natural sweetness. It is a simple recipe, surprisingly bursting with flavour, blog-worthy for it classic simplicity.
- 1 large chicken breast, cut into chunky pieces
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 red pepper, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tbsp fresh garlic paste
- 1 tbsp ginger paste
- 1/3 cup fried onions (store bought or home made)
- 1 tsp panch phoron
- 1/2 tsp roasted ground cumin
- 3/4 tsp coriander powder
- 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp – 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp -3/4 tsp salt or to taste
- 4 tbsp natural low fat Greek style yoghurt
- 1/3 cup hot water
How to cook
- Heat the oil gently then add the panch phoron.
- Wait for the seeds to sizzle, then add the chicken.
- Stir the chicken over a medium heat until the pieces are all sealed.
- Stir in the garlic and ginger and continue to cook for 5 mins.
- Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric and chilli and saute for another 5 minutes or until the oil separates from the spices (add a little water during this stage if the mixture becomes too dry).
- Add the tomatoes and peppers and turn up the heat a little. Allow to cook uncovered for another 2-3 mins.
- Meanwhile, pour the yoghurt into a small bowl, add the fried onions, salt and garam masala and whisk the yoghurt until smooth.
- Lower the heat and slowly stir in the yoghurt and onion mixture into the pan.
- Turn the heat up again and cook for another 2-3 mins.
- Stir in the tomato puree and cook for a minute.
- Add the water and bring to boil.
- Stir and cover and leave to cook for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender.
Serve with steamed rice or a fragrant Zeera Rice like I have here.