Wednesday, 21 March 2012
More curry lovin' - Chicken dopiaza, (sometimes dupiaza, but either way delicious!)
My curry of choice usually is less the creamy, mild, almost sweet creations but those that are tomatoey, oniony with lashings of coriander and this is a particular fave. I don't do 'heat' much, unless heavily pregnant (and then it didn't work - the first and last time I have tried to consume a take away chicken tikka vindaloo) but this curry has the required heat, spice and flavour to satisfy the average palate, and if you do like to feel like you have had a workout after you have eaten an Indian meal, you can always 'up' the chilli to your liking.
The basis of this curry is onion, which is alluded to by its name, dopiaza which makes reference to the idea of 'double onion'. Great. Onions are such wonderful things. Even though they make you cry, the flavour and texture they add to food should really not be underestimated.
This recipe has evolved over several years of cooking curries from scratch and follows the principles I always seem to when making a curry from a recipe book. Making a base, cooking off the spices, add the 'liquid' and then adding the meat before allowing the mixture to reduce and thicken to how you want it. To carry on the onion theme, I like to fry off some sliced onion in vegetable oil as a garnish whilst the curry is reducing, though this is not something I do exclusively just for this curry. Like I say, onions are wonderful things.
Because there is some ginger in this recipe, and I am not a great fan of finding strings of it in my meal, I elected to blitz the ginger with the onion to create a paste rather than grating finely and adding to the pan. The slight greeny tinge you may see in this paste is from the remnants of coriander that were left in the whizzer from my cooking another Indian dish at the same time. You don't have to recreate my laziness if you don't wish to, but...
I serve this with rice usually and some naan. For Lola and Finn I sometimes temper any spice with a spoonful of yoghurt, but only if they complain. With the addition of the rice and naan to eke out the meal a little, any heat becomes really quite unoffensive.
Serves mum, dad and Lola and Finn, plus leftovers for one the next day.
6 chicken thighs, boned and skin removed, cut into slices
4 large onions, roughly chopped (plus a small onion to be fried for garnish)
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 inch piece root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped (or blitzed with the onion)
a glug of vegetable oil (plus extra for frying the onion garnish later on)
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 - 1/2 tsp chilli powder, or to taste
About 7oz ripe tomatoes, quartered (I used cherry tomatoes and halved them)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
6 oz warm water
The seeds from 4 cardamom pods, crushed
4 whole cloves, crushed
1 1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
chopped coriander leaves, for garnish
Prepare the chicken thighs by slicing them into biggish chunks.
Put the onion, ginger and garlic into a liquidiser or whizzer with a glug of vegetable oil. Process the contents until you have a smooth paste.
Add the paste to a large frying pan or cooking pot and begin to cook over a medium heat for about five minutes or so to get rid of the rawness and the paste smells fragrant. At this point, add the turmeric, cumin, coriander and chilli powder. Cook for another five minutes or so to cook out the spices. Don't allow them to stick to the pan.
Add the tomatoes to the mixture and stir them in, pressing down a little to help them to give up the juices and break down.
At this point add the chicken. Stir to combine the chicken with the mixture as much as possible, then add the cinnamon, the cardamom and cloves with the water and the seasoning.
Stir, and bring to a boil, then simmer until the chicken is cooked through and tender and the sauce has thickened, about 25 minutes or so. Stir the curry once or twice to prevent sticking. Once the chicken is cooked, you can cook the curry uncovered over a high heat to reduce and concentrate the curry to how you would like it. Check again for seasoning.
Whilst the curry is simmering, slice the small onion and add some vegetable oil to a small pan. Fry the onion slices until they are browned and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper.
Serve with rice if you like, and naan. Top the finished dish with the fried onion and a sprinkling of coriander.