you are what you eat
It was a rainy day in Johannesburg and for me, there is no better meal than a rustic, spicy curry! Its a one pot meal that has a rich, thick texture, it’s flavorsome and the meat if cooked to perfection is still juicy and moist. Top the curry with freshly picked, fragrant coriander, and you’ve got a winning meal!
A curry can also be a dieters downfall. If accompanied by potatoe and roti/ naan/ paratha the meal can all of a sudden have way too many carbohydrates, much more than we would want!
Swop regular potatoes for baked sweet potato chips or baby potatoes in the skin. Stick to one small baby potato or 2-3 thins slices of sweet potatoe with the skin. The sweet potato can be grilled with cumin, turmeric, a little bit of olive oil, red chili flakes, lemon juice and garam masala.
A curry for me, brings back childhood memories of meals at my grandmothers house. Almost the whole family, crammed into the kitchen book all patient to get a spoon out of her delicious chicken curry!
To thicken your curry use calabash or baby marrow. Calabash can be hard to find so use baby narrows instead. For a 1kg chicken you will need 5-6 small baby marrows or 4 medium sized marrows. Peel the marrows, cut into cubes and cook on the stove until soft. Wiz in a blender to get a smooth mash. For the method on how to prepare a calabash you can get that here: http://wp.me/p35HlX-dt
For the most soulful chicken curry you will need:
1 to 1 1/2kg chicken, cut into pieces
1 can pure canned chopped tomatoes (check the label- it must contain no preservatives or sodium) leave it just as is- don’t blend smooth
1 onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon cooking oil
Juice of half a lemon
1tsp red chili flakes
1T ground ginger and garlic paste
3level tsp coriander powder
3 level tsp cumin seeds
2level tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp garam masaala
Cloves, cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks (I love a fragrant color so I use 6-7 of each)
Salt- leave till later. Taste first before salting and start with a pinch working your way upwards. Try to use less salt than you would usually use.
– Heat a non stick pot and add 1 Tablespoon of cooking oil with the onions. Add 1 tsp of cumin seeds and cook till fragrant. Add the chicken pieces, stir and once the chicken changes colour, add 1 cup of prepared calabash. Let it cook with the lid closed for about ten minutes.
– In a bowl mix: 1 can of chopped tomatoes and all the spices. Stir well and add this to the chicken. Stir to coat well and close the lid, lower the heat and let the curry simmer till the meat is done.
– If you are making a stew, this is where you can add a multitude of vegetables. If you are using potatoes, then cut down on starchy vegetables. Vegetables like peppers, mushrooms, cabbage, baby corn and even carrots make a delicious addition to a stew.
– The spices should be well blended and fragrant so there is no need for a lot of salt. Taste the curry before salting, and start with a pinch of salt. Try using less salt than you would usually use! Simmer before serving for 8-10 mins without the lid until the chicken is tender and the masala and sauce lightly thickened – you might need to add an extra ladleful of water if the curry needs it.
-Sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve with Indian wholewheat flatbreads or fluffy basmati rice (brown basmati rice adds a nutty flavour to the curry) and a pot of yogurt on the side. I serve my curry with a grated carrot and baby cabbage salad, the recipe can be found here: http://wp.me/p35HlX-bZ.