When the weather starts to get a little colder, curry becomes the order of the day. This simple chicken curry is a go-to that I've been making for years and a firm favourite in this household. The comforting sauce is rich, creamy, just a little bit spicy and perfect for dunking big hunks of bread. If you marinate the chicken the night before, the flavour is even more intense - but, like many busy people, I don't often remember to do so and it works just fine.
I think people are put off making curry from scratch because it seems complicated - lots of different spices and herbs to be tangled with. Now, I don't pretend that this recipe is authentic - it's adapted from one originally written by Jamie Oliver - but it is simple. I've made it so many times now that I can whip it up without looking at the instructions.
It's not the shortest of ingredient lists, but we have most of the spices in the cupboard ready and waiting just for this dish. You can supplement the fresh ingredients - ginger, coriander, chilli - for dried alternatives to save on cost, or if you don't have any fresh in the fridge.
I make it on a weekday, when we want something filling and heart-warming, at the weekend, when we want a treat, and when guests come over, when I want to impress. It's really a jack-of-all-trades recipe. It's easily doubled, tripled, quadrupled, but the basic recipe serves two hungry mouths. We usually dish it up with naan bread alone - with neither of us being particular fans of rice - but you can include all the usual accompaniments: rice; salad; naan bread; bhajis and samasos.
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 brown onion, chopped
- 1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 1 or 2 chillies, to taste
- 1 tbsp. garam masala
- 1 tbsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 squidge of ginger paste (or a small amount of fresh, grated ginger)
- 1 big squidge of tomato paste
- 3 or 4 sprigs of coriander, chopped (you can use 1 tsp. ground coriander if you don't have any fresh)
- 1 can chopped tomatoes (or passata, if you prefer)
- 150g natural yoghurt
- 1 tbsp. turmeric
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Drizzle of double cream
1. Chop the chicken into chunks and put into a bowl. Add the tomato paste, ginger, chopped chillies, garam masala, cumin, paprika and coriander. Drizzle a bit of oil on top and mix together. Leave covered in the fridge overnight, if you can. If not, just set to one side.
2. Pour some oil into a saucepan and fry off the onions for a few minutes until they start to soften. Add the pepper and garlic and continue to fry for a few minutes until the onion begins to brown.
3. Once your onions and peppers are ready, add the chopped tomatoes and yoghurt into the saucepan. Tip in your chicken. Add the turmeric and the cinnamon.
4. Stir together and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and continue to gently simmer away, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
5. Add a swirl of cream and serve!