About this recipe:A mild curry cooked with chicken on the bone. Flavours of cumin, tomatoes, garlic and coriander make this curry a fragrant and delicate curry which can be cooked in large quantities to share. Nothing here is overly complex; it just takes a while and particularly if you have never removed the skin from chicken drumsticks and thighs before, this may be a little challenging. I hope you like the recipe. Please don't be put off by the amount of text - I have tried to provide good instructions.
Marination! You need to prepare the chicken for the epic journey on which it is about to embark. If you have bought drumsticks and thighs from the supermarket then you will probably need to remove the skin and trim the fat. This is a messy job so be prepared. The method differs slightly for drumsticks and thighs:
Drumsticks 1: Score the skin around the thinnest part with a sharp knife (the bit you normally hold when eating a chicken drumstick. You will probably cut some of the stringy tendons when doing so - do not worry.
Drumsticks 2: You should then be able to remove the skin by sliding the knife in between the skin and the meat. With some gentle persuasion you should be able to slide the skin off of the meat. Practice makes perfect with this technique.
Thighs 1: a lot easier to do this as the skin should slide off the thigh with relative ease. Try to remove the fat at the sides which connect the skin to the thigh. This can best done using a small serrated knife in a scraping motion.
Once the skin has been removed you need to create small 'pockets' in the meat. This can generally be done by getting 'up close and personal' with the meat by using your finger to poke a pocket in the meat along the natural grain.
Take a garlic bulb and separate the individual cloves and remove the husk. If they are big cloves they can be split into two or three. Slide garlic into the pockets you have just created.
Next, take some coriander and slide in a scrunch of the herb - stalks as well - if you can't be bothered to remove them, it doesn't matter - in behind the garlic in the chicken. Massage the meat to close the pockets as well as you can. This will ensure the flavour of the coriander and garlic penetrates the meat during cooking.
Place the stuffed meat into a dish and cover with the natural yoghurt. If you want to dice a few cloves of garlic and add, although this step can be ommited - depending on how much you like garlic!
Next take a teaspoon of chilie powder and a teaspoon of dried chopped chillies and sprinkle over the yogurt. You can use tongs to toss the meat in the marinade or simply use your hands. You are already more than acquainted with the chicken!
Leave in a fridge or overnight to marinate. I have done this for just a few hours, but they do always say overnight is best. either way, I normally don't have the time to do overnight and I'm always impressed with the results.
When you are ready to cook the meat you will need to prepare the basic ingredients to create the classic tomato curry base. I have tinkered with this basic recipe over time and feel it is the best that I have cooked.
Chop your tomatoes. 20 to 30 seems like a lot - and it is, but you are relying on the water in the tomatoes and when the tomatoes break down during the cooking process they take up a lot less room. Halve them, and then halve them again...and then again. 8 pieces per tomato. Ensure you do not lose any of the juice.
Set the tomatoes to one side - a handy frying pan is good. Now peel and finely dice the onions and place in a bowl or large jug. Add the 2 teaspoons olive oil to the onions and stir, ensuring you coat the onions in oil (a shortcut I learned), set to one side.
Finely chop the red pepper, and put to one side.
Depending on how much meat you have (or how big your pan is) you may need to use two pans. Probably the case for a kilo of meat! It's ok, you just cook two pans in parallell.
Take a big saucepan/s and place on the hob (high heat) and add a knob of butter, when this has melted add the cumin and mustard seeds. Fry until they pop and crackle.
Next add the onions and fry until they start to brown.
Add the turmeric (1 teaspoon per pan, or two in one pan) and fry, stirring to coat the onions. At this point the mix will become very dry - so turn the heat down a notch.
Next add the curry powder (1 teaspoon per pan, or two in one pan). When this has been stirred, add the chopped tomatoes and juice instantly.
Stir the mix and add 200ml -400 ml of cold water. At this point the sauce will be very watery - this is supposed to happen. The sauce will thicken when you are slow cooking the meat.
The water should be on the boil, reduce the heat to simmer, the sauce will be gently bubbling.
Add the meat and yoghurt marinade, you should notice the sauce start to thicken after this point.
Finally, add the chopped red pepper and leave to simmer, checking on the pan every 15 minutes. I normally leave to slow cook for 90 minutes to ensure the meat is thoroughly cooked. I tend to find authentic home cooked curries tend to have thinner sauces than those that are shop or takeaway bought, obviously the sauce will reduce and thicken as the water evaporates. The finished dish should be fairly watery - although this doesn't matter because the sauce is very flavourful. If you prefer thicker, you can up the yoghurt quantity A LITTLE, or leave in the fridge over night and reheat.
Serve with rice and a naan bread.
Sounds long and complicated, but read the steps before you buy the ingredients, and it's actually a fairly simple recipe. Do this, make your own variations and experiment with the recipe - I don't even look at my original recipe now - I just go with the flow.
Followed the recipe to the detail, was very disapointed, very bland and lacking in taste. Was wondering if tinned tomatoes would make it a bit tastier. Don't think I'd be tempted to make it again though. - 18 Jan 2014
I didn't have any chicken, but the tomato curry base worked great with lentils and carrots! Very delicious. Will give the marinated chicken a try some time, sounds lovely!
Not difficult at all to make, but lots of ingredients so that's why I rate it medium challenging. - 02 Apr 2013