Keep Calm and Curry On
What could be more comforting than a steaming bowl of curry? Now I know the thought of cooking a curry can be very daunting as there are so many choices: Meat or vegetarian? North Indian, South Indian, Cape Malay, Thai? (Just to name a few). Which spices to use? Mild or hot? Most people also think that cooking a curry takes a long time. Well ladies & gents, I am here to tell you that you can make a simple and delicious curry in just a few easy steps…
The basics of a curry are incredibly simple; you need four main ingredients, namely, onion, chilli, ginger and garlic to get started. With these ingredients in hand you already have your base of your curry. From there you move on to your spices. For this column I will be focusing on Indian curry flavours. There is an enormous array of Indian spices to choose from when making a curry but for a simple one all you need is ground coriander, turmeric, cumin and curry powder.
Now it’s time to choose your protein or vegetables if you choose to make a vegetarian curry. Bear in mind that certain meats take longer to become tender during the cooking process, an example of this would be lamb. That is why I always use chicken if I need to make a quick curry. Once you have your basics , you will be able to whip up a curry in no time. What I love about this recipe is that it’s healthy – the chicken is not fatty and you can choose to enjoy it with cauliflower rice instead of basmati rice if you are Banting or want to cut down on the calories. It is also delicious as leftovers and will have your colleagues salivating. So what do you say ladies & gents? Let’s not be intimidated by making a curry anymore! As has become our tradition, pour yourself a glass of wine – in this case a good Shiraz will pair perfectly – and let’s keep calm and curry on.
Coconut Chicken Curry with Lemon Rice
3 cloves of garlic
1 green chilli (if you do not like spice food you can leave this out, alternatively you can add more if you want it to be spicier.)
2cm piece of ginger
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 glugs of olive oil
5 curry leaves (preferably fresh but the dried ones work just as well)
2 teaspoons ground coriander powder
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 tablespoon curry powder
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into quarters
250ml chicken stock
1 can coconut milk (you can substitute with coconut cream if you want a richer curry)
1 cup basmati rice (or cauliflower rice if you are Banting)
Juice of half a lemon
Fresh coriander leaves to serve
- In a blender chop the onion, garlic, chilli, ginger and salt together until a fine paste forms. Heat the oil in a medium sized pot over medium heat and add the paste. Fry gently for 15 minutes until soft.
- In the meantime combine all your spices including the curry leaves in a bowl and mix. Once the onion paste is soft add your spice mixture to the pot and stir to combine. Cook gently for two minutes until the spices become fragrant.
- Add the chicken, season with salt and stir to combine, making sure that all the chicken pieces are covered with the onion and spice mixture.
- After two to three minutes, increase the heat, add the chicken stock and stir to combine. Bring the curry to a gentle simmer for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile cook your basmati or cauliflower rice according to the packet instructions. When your rice is steaming pour in the fresh lemon juice and allow to steam for two more minutes.
- Five minutes before your curry is ready add the coconut milk and stir to combine.
- Place the lemon rice in a serving bowl topped with a big spoonful of chicken curry and garnish with fresh coriander.