Friday, 18 March 2011

Memories of India.

A couple of years ago, I went on a cooking trip to India. It was incredible. I was inspired by the amazing apititude for food that the people there seem to have. Everything that I ate during those weeks seemed a thousand times more flavoursome than anything that I ever had back at home. I can't wait to go back.

This child knew how to eat a mango.

I spent a lot of my time in India in Beena's kitchen, watching her cook. Beena was my cooking teacher. She didn't really speak any English and so most of my lessons were conducted through the art of mime.

Although we didn't talk much, I liked Beena. She enjoyed cooking and she was really very comfortable around food. She laughed at my attempts to make chappati; I had nothing like her effortless ability.

I think about Beena every time I cook Indian food at home, mainly because I still use the beautiful spice box that she gave me, but also because I feel a little bit guilty that my dishes are not as authentic as I know that they should be. That's why I've used the word "style" in the name of this dish; because I know that what I've cooked is not quite chicken tikka.

It's still pretty good though.

I made this curry this morning using the thighs and legs from the whole chicken that I bought and jointed earlier this week. It's such a cheap way of eating chicken, if you want to try it, there are instructions here.

I've packed this dish into a lunchbox to eat while I do the late shift tonight at work. I left lots in the fridge for Mr Meat to heat up when he gets home. Is he lucky or what?

Chicken tikka style curry.

Chicken thighs and drumsticks
Tomato paste
Garam Masala
Sunflower oil
1 Onion
3 Cloves of garlic
Cumin seeds
Coriander powder
Chilli (I use frozen but fresh is obviously better)
A tin of tomatoes
Sweet potato (I normally put normal potato into a curry but I was feeling flush this week)

Marinate your chicken. Put the bits that you're using into a tupperware box or into a bowl, mix together a few tablespoons of the yogurt with the tumeric, garam masala, the tomato paste and about a tablespoon of sunflower oil and pour the lot over the chicken. Close the lid on the tupperware and give it a shake, or if it's in a bowl, stir it around until everything is coated.

Leave that in the fridge overnight for best results.

When you want to cook your curry, finely slice the onion and chop the garlic. Fry in the sunflower oil on a low heat until it all goes golden and caramelised. While you're doing that, pop the marinated chicken into a hot pan to brown and turn your oven on to 180c.
The skin needs to be crispy and flavoursome, give it plenty of time on each side and don't move it around too much; you want the meat to pick up gorgeous singed bits.

Lovely. By now, your onions and garlic should be ready. Pop the cumin seeds, coriander powder and chilli in there, along with a little bit more garam masala. Fry for a minute to allow the oils in the spices to warm through, the kitchen will smell really nice now. Pour the spiced yogurt that you marinated the chicken in into your onions and spices and cook off for a few minutes. It will start to look like it's splitting, but trust me, it'll taste brilliant by the time you're done with it!

Throw your tin of tomatoes in there, if they're not chopped ones then break them up a bit. Add about a cupful of water, a handful of lentils and your sweet potato. Bring to the boil and turn down to a simmer.

Is your chicken looking lovely and brown and finger-licking? I hope so. Chuck it into an ovenproof dish and cover with foil, shiny side down, before putting it into your pre-heated oven. Leave it in there for about 30-40 minutes while your sauce simmers, just to make sure it's cooked through. You can't be too sure with chicken, and the marinade will help to keep it moist.

When the time's up, you're ready to serve. Spoon some sauce onto a bed of rice and lay the chicken on top. I like a bit of plain yogurt with my curry so I always pour some over, followed by some black pepper.

Beautiful. This meal costs around £3.19 if you joint a chicken for the drumsticks and things. If you buy them, it'll cost around £3.69, I reckon.

1 comment:

  1. soooooo looking forward to this on the way home! ;-) xoxoxoxox

    p.s. yes i am very lucky indeed and I hope you know how grateful I am! :-)