Thursday, 7 February 2013

Baked Chicken Curry

I made this a while back and it was very scrummy and although it looks complicated because of the long list of ingredients - it really isn't.

I have to admit I can't stand fenugreek so I did leave it out.


2 heaped tsp cumin seeds
2 heaped tsp coriander seeds
1 heaped tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground fenugreek
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 large green chilli, roughly chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, roughly chopped
3-4 tbsp sunflower or groundnut oil
1 chicken, jointed into 6 pieces, or 6 skin-on, bone-in chicken pieces weighing about 1.5kg in total
400g tin of tomatoes
400ml tin of coconut milk
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


How to make baked chicken curry

1. If you've got the time, toast the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds in a dry frying pan for a minute or two, until fragrant. Grind the whole spices (toasted or otherwise) to a rough powder in a spice grinder or with a pestle and mortar, then mix with the turmeric and fenugreek.

2. Put the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger in a food processor or blender. Blitz to a coarse paste, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium/high heat. Add half the chicken pieces, season well and brown them all over, making sure you get the skin a good colour. Transfer them to a large roasting dish, skin-side up. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

4. Reduce the heat under the frying pan, add the spice mix and fry for a minute or two, then add the onion paste. Fry, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until the paste is soft, fragrant and reduced in volume. Add a little more oil if it seems to be sticking.

5. Tip the tomatoes and coconut milk into the food processor (no need to wash it out first) and blitz to combine. Pour into the frying pan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and a grinding of pepper, then pour the sauce over the chicken pieces. Make sure they are all coated in the sauce, then push most of the sauce off the top of the chicken - if there's too much sauce sitting on them, the skin won't brown in the oven.

6. Place in an oven preheated to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour or until the chicken is cooked through and nicely browned on top, turning and basting it a couple of times. Serve with lots of basmati rice to soak up the sauce.

From River Cottage Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

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