Wednesday, 26 September 2012
A passage to India - Kochi Chicken Curry (or Naadan Kozhi Ularthiyathu)
Well, kinda. I am quite excited to find out about the regional variations and influences of apparently our nation's favourite dish (maybe this is not the place to admit that my favourite take away is still fish and chips, but anyway...) and as I had no real clue what a kochi chicken might be, it was enough of a challenge to make me want to make it.
I think that the only way I can describe this is just a little like a fragrant chicken soup with a satisfying but subtle kick. It tasted clean and nourishing without packing so much of a spicy punch that it would leave you reeling, and though I didn't offer this to Lola and Finn, curry night being often an exclusively 'mum and dad' affair, I can see a point at which Lola at least might enjoy this.
This recipe is adapted from Atul Kochhar's recipe in 'Simple Indian' and he describes this dish as being Keralan in origin, which I (perhaps ignorantly) think of having cuisine that would rate quite highly in the heat stakes. This doesn't. Fresh and fragrant is where this curry is at.
Kochi Chicken Curry adapted from Atul Kochhar's 'Simple Indian'
Serves Mum and Dad, twice
Four large chicken breasts
For the spice powder:
1 star anise
3 dried chillies
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
10 black peppercorns
4 green cardamom pods
5cm cassia bark or cinnamon stick (I used a tsp of cinnamon)
3 tbsp coconut or vegetable oil (I used vegetable)
200g onions, finely sliced
1 tbsp fresh chopped ginger
2 tbsp chopped garlic
4 green chillies, slit length ways (I used 3)
1 tsp salt
400ml coconut milk
150g potatoes, scrubbed and cut into wedges
1 - 2 tbsp chopped coriander (My addition)
1 tbsp coconut oil (I used vegetable oil)
1 tsp black mustard seeds
50g shallots, sliced
25 curry leaves (I used about 10!)
Make the spice powder. Grind all the spices together in a mini processor or pestle and mortar until well ground and combined.
Heat the oil in a deep saute pan or suitable pot. add the sliced onions and saute until softened and light brown in colour. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until it becomes fragrant and the raw aromas are lost.
Add the green chillies and saute for a minute or so then add the spice powder and salt and cook, stirring, for about 30 minutes or so.
Pour in half of the coconut milk and 100ml of water. Add the potato wedges and bring to the boil.
Add the chicken pieces and then simmer over a low heat for 15 to 20 minutes until almost cooked.
Add the remainder of the coconut milk and simmer gently until the potatoes and chicken are cooked.
In the meantime, make the seasoning. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan and saute the mustard seed until they crackle. Add the sliced shallots and curry leaves, then fry gently until the shallots are softened and caramelising.
Stir the chopped coriander into the curry. Serve in warmed bowls with some rice and topped with the seasoning.