Indian Chicken Curry
Time slows down in Fiji so you always find time to eat. Almost all social events are around food. For a small country, the food in Fiji has been influenced by many cultures. European, Indian, Chinese, native Fijian food are among the main flavours.
I LOVE the local cuisine especially the food of my Indian heritage. The traditional spices and flavours which is Fragrant Fiji but enjoyed in Fiji Thyme!
Here is a recipe for a chicken curry. In Fiji we normally use either chicken reared in ones backyard, store bought chicken or junglee murgi (wild caught chicken). Junglee murgi tends to be firmer. Either way chicken is cut into bitesized pieces and always on the bone. Every home boasts a heavy chopping board and a “chopper”, similar to that of a Chinese cleaver.
I tend to buy thigh fillets for curry. I find that breast meat dries out too much. If you can, get your butcher to chop up a whole chicken, chicken Maryland or thigh fillets into bite sized pieces, on the bone of course. Good quality turmeric is also key to this recipe. I am heavy handed with turmeric when it comes to a chicken curry. If like me you are intolerant to onion and garlic, by all means use garlic oil and spring onions but remember to ramp up the ginger.
- 1.5 kg chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite sized pieces
brown onion, thinly sliced
- 5-6 cloves garlic
chillies (or to taste)
- 2 inch piece ginger
sprig curry leaves, plucked
- 1 heaped tsp turmeric
- 1 tbs Fiji meat masala
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1 tsp
black mustard seeds
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 4-5 cardamom pods, bruised
- 4 cloves
- 2 potatoes, cubed (optional)
- 4 tbs oil
- 2 tbs water
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 cup
- Wash, drain well and set aside the chicken pieces.
- Place garlic, ginger and chillies with a pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar. Grind to a smooth paste. Add the meat masala, turmeric and water and mix well to form a smooth curry paste.
- Heat oil in a wide, heavy pan. Add cumin, black mustard and fenugreek seeds until the seeds sizzle and pop. Add the cinnamon quill, cloves and cardamom pods and heat through for 5 seconds. Next add the onions and curry leaves and fry until the onions caramelize.
- Add the curry paste and fry, stirring often until the water has evaporated and the oil separates from the paste.
- Add the chicken (and potatoes if using) and give it a good stir. Increase the heat, add salt and cook on high for 5 -6 minutes to seal the meat.
- Lower the heat, cook covered until the chicken (and potatoes) are cooked through. Cook uncovered for a further 5 minutes until the juices have evaporated and the curry is nice and dry. Garnish with coriander.
- Serve with rice, dahl and tamarind chutney on the side.