Quick to russell up, with no fussy ingredients required. This mild curry is an easy weekday supper win. The coconut milk affords it a silky richness, and it’s not a spice bomb, so is sure to please even those who, like me, would claim not to like ‘curry’!
As an added bonus, this recipe is wheat and dairy free.
To serve 4:
- 120ml flavourless oil (I use much less!)
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped or mashed
- 4 cm of fresh ginger, chopped
- 600g chicken breast cut into 3cm chunks, or use chicken thighs
- 3 tbsp garam masala
- 1 heaped tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp chilli powder
- 2 green chillies, finely sliced
- 1 tin coconut milk
- (100g creamed coconut & 1 tsp brown sugar: omit these 2 ingredients if you prefer)
- 1.5 tsp salt
- Approximately 10 pineapple chunks chopped into 1-2cm segments (tinned or fresh)
- 100g roasted salted cashew nuts
- Fresh coriander, a few extra finely cut ginger matchsticks & a couple of red chilli slices, to serve
1. Put the oil in a heavy based large pan over a medium heat. Once it is hot, add the onions, garlic and fresh minced ginger and fry for around 8 minutes until golden brown.
2. Add the chicken pieces and the garam masala, coriander powder, turmeric and chilli. Fry for around 5 minutes.
3. Add the coconut milk, (the creamed coconut & sugar, if using), salt, pineapple and the cashews. If you feel it is too dry, add the pineapple juice.
3. Simmer gently until the chicken is cooked through. Check seasoning, adjusting or adding a splash of lemon or lime if wanted.
4. Garnish with the fine ginger sticks, the fresh chopped coriander and the red chilli.
Serve with rice,
or fresh crusty sourdough
Original recipe from Nisha Katona. Nisha worked as a barrister for 20 years before leaving the bar and entering the kitchen… A food writer, restauranter and presenter, she is the founder or the Mowgli Street Food restaurants, which were recognised in the Sunday Times 100 fast track list of 2018. Nisha was awarded an MBE in 2019 for services to the food industry.
A potted history of ‘curry’… introduced by the Tamil people of India and Sri Lanka, the term ‘curry’ originally described a sauceless variety of meat and vegetable dishes, cooked using a spice rub mixture.
Indian curry’s staple spices are coriander, cumin, tumeric and cayenne chilli powder. Other spices, including cardamon, mustard seed, saffron and fresh root ginger, can be added.
‘Garam Marsala’ is a deeply fragrant spice blend which features cinnamon and clove.
One of the cornerstones of Indian curry is the use of the leaves of the curry plant when making the spice rub. India was obviously once a British colony; many people of Indian descent live in the UK. Curry powder, and the popular ‘chicken tikka masala’ are both UK inventions. However, as curry plant leaves do not retain their flavour once dried, the leaves not used in most curry powders.
Thai curry is traditionally made with green, red or yellow paste, (in order of heat, starting with green, drawing its heat from green chillies, then the slightly less fiery red chilli paste, and finally yellow, which features a large quantity of turmeric, giving it the distinctive yellow colour). The paste is traditionally made from the staple ingredients of ginger, garlic, lemongrass and chilli peppers, mixed with coconut milk to make a sauce.
In contrast to Indian curry powder, Thai paste has a thick moist quality, due to it being made from fresh ingredients. An obvious example is the use of coriander – Indian curry uses a lot of dried coriander, whereas Thai curry features fresh coriander as a staple ingredient. Thai paste variations include Panang, which is similar to red thai paste, but with shrimp, and Massaman which often contains peanuts, and is milder and sweeter.
Jamaican ‘curry’ has long been a mainstay of West Indian cuisine. It boldly features allspice, giving an almost licorice tone, as well as thyme. Both rarely used in Indian kitchens. Jamaican curry also features chilli peppers – but fresh, not dried in powder form. They all share the use of turmeric powder, coriander and cumin.