This is the final course of that Bengali meal. When I was growing up, my mother used to make a chicken curry almost every Sunday. Later on, the chicken curry and rice morphed into a one pot meal that she called “my biriyani”, with a stress on the “my” to distinguish it from authentic biriyani. But a good ol’ chicken curry cannot subsitute for biriyani, no matter how good. They are two different animals. Completely. Anyway, here is a chicken curry recipe for you, perfect for a weekend lunch or dinner.
Recipe: Traditional home-style chicken curry
Indian chicken curry cooked with boneless pieces just does not develop the same depth of flavour as traditional cut-chicken which always has the bone in. If you must serve boneless pieces to guests, try to include a drumstick or two in the dish.
1.5 kilos cut-up chicken without skin
400 g onions finely sliced
100 g each ginger and garlic
4 cm long piece of cinnamon
4 pods cardamom
1 tsp turmeric
1-2 fresh green chillies, split lengthwise (optional)
Salt and chili powder to taste (optionally use sweet paprika for colour if you don’t want the heat)
2-3 tsp natural yogurt
2 tbsp oil
- Peel ginger and garlic and make a paste, either in a mortar and pestle or in a food chopper, using the yogurt for a base. Rub it all over chicken. Marinate overnight in the fridge or for a couple of hours on the countertop.
- Heat oil in a large pot and add the cinnamon and cardamom. Sauté until aromatic and browned.
- Add the green chillies and fry until blistered. Remove if you don’t want the heat.
- Add onions. Sauté over medium low heat until onions are soft and brown.
- Scrape off marinade from the chicken and add. Sauté for a minute.
- Make a slurry of the chili powder and turmeric with a spoonful of water and add with the salt.
- Sauté until liquid evaporates and the oil starts to glisten on the surface.
- Add a cup of water. Cook till the onions have broken down and thickened the sauce.
- Add the chicken and mix well. Cover and simmer on low heat, with occassional, careful stirring until chicken is almost falling off the bones.
- Serve garnished with the green chillies.