20g fresh ginger, peeled
6 fat cloves garlic
400g boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 5cm pieces
5 to 6 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 smallish tomatoes, blended to a smooth purée
14 curry leaves, fresh or dried
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1cm cinnamon stick
½ tsp black peppercorns or ground black pepper
2 tsp fennel seeds
3 to 6 dried red chillies, seeds shaken out if you prefer
½ tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
For the marinade:
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp chilli powder, or to taste
2 heaped tbsp yoghurt
2 tsp lemon juice, or to taste
- Blend the ginger and garlic to a paste, adding a little water to help. Mix a third of the paste with the marinade ingredients, adding ¼ tsp salt. Add to the chicken, mix and marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge, or overnight if you can.
- Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and fry the onion until golden brown. Add the remaining ginger-garlic paste and cook until the water evaporates, then continue to cook until the garlic colours. Add the tomatoes and curry leaves and cook for 6 to 8 minutes over a high heat until the oil is released on the sides of the pan; stir as it thickens.
- Using a spice grinder or pestle and mortar, grind the poppy seeds, spices and red chillies to a fine powder. Add to the pan with the cumin, coriander, salt and a good splash of water. Cook until the pan dries out, stirring often. Add another splash of water and repeat.
- Add the chicken and cook on a high heat, stirring until the yoghurt is incorporated. Add 150ml water, bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until the chicken is done (about 5 minutes for breasts, 8 minutes for thighs).