5 November 2010

Chilli Chicken Curry with Courgettes

The recipe for this curry has changed quite a bit since I first decided to include it on the menu list for this week.  The first big change came when I reviewed the recipe and noticed that it included potato.  This is a big no-no, as hubby has decreed that potato is the no-legged spawn of the devil and if he eats another one, it will be far too soon.  So, I try to avoid the little chaps - which is tricky as I'm a complete potatophile.  So that explains why they keep on appearing!

So anyway, the potato was out and I wanted to find something that would be nice to include in a curry, but wouldn't cost the earth.  Enter one courgette (zucchini).  So that was change no. 1.

Change no. 2 came about in the supermarket today when we discovered that a huge pack of fresh curry leaves were less than a pound in price.  Because the recipe I'm using on Sunday - the Spicy Lentils - include curry leaves we got them.  This, of course, meant that I could play with them for the first time ever, in tonight's curry before committing them to the Ottolenghi recipe on Sunday.

Change no. 3 came about when I realised that the curry recipe I had dealt in chilli powder, rather than fresh chillis - which are always my preferred route.  So chilli powder was out and fresh chilli was in.

Change no. 4 came about when I realised that we had no brown sugar in the house with which to sweeten the tomatoes.  Rather than use the relatively flavourless granulated sugar, I opted for honey instead.

Change no. 5 came about when, after tasting the sauce, I realised that it was a little "light" and needed something to give it a richness and depth.  After a bit of pondering, I opted for two tablespoons of double cream.

So hence, the recipe we wound up eating bore very little resemblance to the one I intended to start out cooking.  Still, the end result was worth it.  Chillibob declared that it was very, very close to "the perfect curry" - and that is quite some accolade from him!


Ingredients :

To make the paste :
2 medium onion , quartered
1 cm root ginger, quartered
2 garlic cloves, halved and green shoot removed
1 red chilli, quartered and seeds removed.

A knob of butter
tbsp olive oil
a courgette or 2 baby aubergines
1 tsp cumin seeds
14 curry leaves
½ tsp turmeric
230g can chopped tomatoes
500g boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3cm chunks
½ tsp garam masala
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
2 tbsp double cream
2 tsp runny honey


Slice the courgette into fairly chunky slices, melt the butter in a deep frying pan and add the oil, heat until the courgettes sizzle when you put them in and fry until browned, then set aside.

Meanwhile, make the paste by blitzing in a food processor the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli to a fine paste.

Fry the cumin seeds and curry leaves in the leftover oil from the courgettes for a few seconds.

Add the onion paste and brown over a medium heat.

Add the chicken and brown (or “white”) for a few minutes.

Sprinkle in the turmeric and garam masala.

Add the tomatoes and fry for 5 minutes. Add a little water to promote the creation of the sauce.

Season and allow to simmer for 30 mins or so.  Add the honey to taste and the double cream, continue to simmer for as long as it takes for the sauce to reduce to your liking.

Finally, and at the very last minute, add the courgettes and the coriander and stir through.

Serve with white rice.

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