The word curry comes from the Tamil word kari (கறி) which means sauce. This word was adopted by the British in the 17th century when the East India Company which was trading with the Tamils at Fort St. George, which became Madras and in 1996 was renamed Chennai. I suspect that the Madras Curry so popular in the 1970’s originates from this link. Curry is basically a stew. It can be made with lamb, beef chicken or pork, but in India where there are more vegetarians than non vegetarians, one can also use vegetables for making a curry.
Chicken curry has so many recipes, so don't worry if the recipe you have is different from the one I have chosen. What is important is that the meat needs to simmer in a closed vessel with liquid and spices so that the spices are ingrained in every fibre of your meat, a process I am ashamed doesn't happen in most so called Indian Restaurants. I suspect when one looks at the emergence of Indian Restaurants in the UK, it was surprising that the first ones were opened not by Indians but Bangladeshis, most not in the cookery trade. They deservedly get the credit for the popularity of Indian curries, but unfortunately at the cost of introducing poor Indian curries. On the back of popularity of the Indian food, even some of the very well known British chefs in the 1970-80’s developed curry pastes and powders which can be added to the meat and get a "sort of a curry". I am glad to say that these days we are seeing some genuine Indian and Pakistani Restaurant which have raised the standard and methods of Indian cooking in the new Restaurants.
- 1/2 Kg Chicken portions
- 1 inch Cinnamon stick
- 6 Cloves
- 4 Green Cardamoms
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1small chopped Onion
- 1/3 tin chopped Tomatoes
- 3tbsf Yogurt
- 1 tsf Garlic paste
- 1 tsf Ginger paste
- 2 tsf Coriander powder
- 1 tsf Cumin powder
- 1 tsf Garam Masala
- 1 tsf Salt (to taste)
- 1/4 tsf Chillies powder
- 3 tbsf Oil
- Fresh Coriander chopped
- In a heavy pan heat the oil on medium heat.
- When the oil is hot, add cinnamon, cloves, cardamons and bay leaf, stir it till the cardamons swell up, usually takes 1-2 minutes.
- Add chopped onions and brown by stirring them in the hot oil.
- Add tomatoes and mix well and brown the mix till oil separates (when the masala is browned enough you will see that the oil is separate from the sauce).
- Add the rest of the spices and mix well.
- Add the chicken portions and mix well with the masala. Slightly brown the chicken evenly on all sides.
- While the chicken is being browned add the yogurt a spoonful at a time and giving a stir ensuring that the yogurt doesn't curdles. Wait till the oil separates again.
- Add 150 mls of water and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and cover the pan and cook for approximately 40 minutes or till the chicken is nice and tender. I personally use a pressure cooker so need only about 20 minutes.
- Garnish with some fresh coriander leaves before serving.