Chicken and coconut curry
For the roasted curry powder (makes more than you will need for this recipe)
- handful uncooked basmati rice
- 115g/4oz coriander seeds
- 30–40g/1–1½oz cinnamon pieces
- 30g/1oz black peppercorns
- 30–55g/1–2oz dried chilli (depending on how spicy you like your curry)
- 30g/1oz cumin seeds
- 85g/3oz fennel seeds
For the curry
- 2 tbsp coconut oil or vegetable oil
- handful fresh curry leaves (approx. 10–12 leaves)
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- small piece of ginger (approx. 2.5cm/1in), peeled and roughly chopped
- 8 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tbsp roasted curry powder (from above)
- 200ml/7fl oz coconut milk
- salt, to taste
- freshly chopped coriander, to serve
For the curry powder, heat a wide heavy-based pan over a medium–high heat. Once hot, add the basmati rice and cook for a few minutes. When starting to brown, add the coriander seeds, cinnamon pieces and black peppercorns and toast for a few minutes while stirring. (You can tell when they are almost roasted as the seeds should start to pop and break when squeezed in the hand.)
Add the dried chilli, cumin seeds and fennel seeds and continue to roast in the pan for a further 5 minutes, until fragrant and toasted. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool.
Once cool, grind the spices in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar until you have a fine powder.
For the curry, heat the oil in a large pan and add the curry leaves, onion, garlic and ginger. Cook for 5–10 minutes until the onions are soft and lightly browned.
Add the chicken pieces to the pan and allow to brown, whilst stirring frequently.
Stir in the roasted curry powder, stir well to evenly coat all the chicken pieces and continue to cook for a further 5–10 minutes.
Add the coconut milk and pour in a cup of water (approximately 250ml/9fl oz). Sprinkle in a teaspoon of salt, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cover with a lid. Allow the curry to simmer gently for around 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the lid and allow the sauce to reduce for a further 5–10 minutes to thicken. Stir occasionally and if you think the curry needs a little more coconut milk, add during cooking.
Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with freshly chopped coriander to serve. Serve with steamed rice (optional).
The roasted curry powder is best used when fresh, so if you don't think you'll use it quickly you can always halve the recipe.