Gran’s Idiot Proof Curry!
Ok, she didn’t call it that, in fact I ‘m not sure that she actually taught me how to make it but when you grow up year after year watching someone do something, you quickly get the hang of it!
The name! When I first started living in the UK almost 2 decades ago, I had many friends asking me for recipes that they couldn’t mess up! Some of them had never even boiled an egg before! So, I came up with my idiot proof curry, the most basic ingredients, using shop bought curry powder/paste to get a light but full bodied curry. It’s extremely versatile as many curries are, it lends itself to anything, meat, seafood or vegetables. The addition of coconut milk, etc will create a different-ish dish.
I’m giving this recipe with chicken but feel free to substitute it with ANYTHING!
Ingredients (serves 4)
500g chicken (750 if on the bone)
6 medium potatoes (more=thicker gravy)
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
3″/6cm fresh ginger
3 tbsp curry powder
1 cinnamon bark
2 star anise petals
2 sprigs curry leaves (optional)
500ml water (or more, depending on how thick you want the gravy)
2 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil (I use very little oil, preferring to add a little water to the paste)
1 tsp salt, or to taste
fresh coriander leaves, chopped, to serve
1. Finely chop or mince the onions, garlic and ginger (a chopper is best).
2. Heat oil in a large casserole dish or saucepan on medium high heat and saute the dry spices for about a minute or two until the aroma hits you.
3. Add the minced onion mix and curry powder and cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes, again until you get a wonderful spicy aroma.
4. Add the chicken and potatoes and stir to coat thoroughly.
5. Increase the heat, add water and salt and bring to boil. Simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked.
6. Five minutes before the end of cooking, add the tomatoes, bring to boil, simmer for 5 minutes and turn off heat.
Serve, sprinkled with fresh coriander. Goes well with all kinds of rice and all manner of bread, be it naan, paratha, chapati, a baguette or some crusty bread.
As mentioned, this is a basic recipe, dished up in no time at all. You can vary the end result by:
1. Substituting the water with coconut milk for a rich and creamy curry. NOTE: Coconut milk should never be on a rolling boil or covered, only simmer, or it will curdle. Even canned ones with stabilizers can be temperemental.
2. To the above (coconut milk), add a fresh green chilli, ground cashew nuts and juice of 1 lime for a korma-ish dish.
3. Add some yoghurt or fresh cream with or without cashew nuts.
4. Add some tomato ketchup for a slight tang (I love this!)
5. Add vegetables like capsicum and onions towards the end.