‘To India? You’ll get sick’. It is with this sentence, accompanied by a smirk that betrayed a wish more than a simple prediction, that our friends responded to our announcement of a trip to India.
At first we found the reaction annoying, patronising even, but then we decided it was fair enough: if we were unwillingly annoying them with our travel plans, then they were allowed to take revenge wishing us the Delhi belly – travel boasting is, I believe, a terrible sin and friends are there to keep you in check.
But the fact that we understood where they were coming from with this, didn’t mean we didn’t feel a particular kind of pleasure when we came back from India without having spent one single day sick. Against everyone’s predictions, we were blessed during our whole Indian journey with great health and appetite, that we indulged with food from restaurants, street stalls and indeed train vendors.
Indian has always been one of my favourite cuisines, but despite my very many attempts, even after that trip, I never managed to get even close to recreating that wonderful taste in my kitchen. Or, I should say, I never managed until last week, when a friend of mine of Indian origins shared with me her mum’s recipe for chicken curry.
If an Indian mommy gives you a recipe for curry you can be pretty sure it is going to taste amazing and indeed, it was a revelation: my kitchen, my humble European kitchen was able to produce, with this recipe, an absolutely amazingly delicious chicken curry. You don’t believe me? I dare you to try to make it.
This is her overly delicious chicken curry recipe
Main ingredients for 4 people:
- Chicken breasts cut into thick chunks (3 pieces per breast): I took the liberty of using chicken oyster tights instead, deboned and with no skin and they worked really well
- 3 potatoes quartered lengthwise
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves crushed
- 3/4 tsp crushed fresh ginger
- 1 thumb sized piece of cinnamon stick
Heat the oil in a pan: the best ones to use are non-stick, heavy bottom ones. Add bay leaf, star anise, cardamon pods, cloves and onions. Fry all until the onions are golden brown (try to keep the heat not so high that they burn). Add ginger and garlic and fry for 30 seconds, then add chilli powder, gharam masala, cinnamon and turmeric powder. Mix well.
Add the chicken and fry on high heat for 3 minutes or so, until sealed, then add the potatoes, tomatoes and the curry leaf. Finally salt and chilli to taste.
Mix well, cover with a lid and cook until potatoes are soft – check regularly to make sure there is enough liquid and the ingredients are not sticking to the pan: If necessary, add little boiling water from time to time and immediately cover the pan again not to disperse the heat.
While the curry cooks, make your homemade roti:
Ingredients for the roti
- 2 cups flour
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 and 1/4 cup boiling hot water
Use a heat resistant bowl to mix the ingredients to form a soft dough. Paying attention not to burn your hands with the hot water, knead the dough for about ten minutes (don’t skive off, the result is not the same if done for less!) – you will soon have a very smooth, non-sticky dough. Roll the dough into the shape of a long sausage and then break it down golf ball size pieces and roll out. Roll each of the balls out on a surface covered with flour to form very thin sheets of dough.
Heat up a non-stick, heavy bottom pan and toast one roti at the time in it: place the first roti in the pan and leave for about 30 seconds on one side. Flip and let it cook for a little longer: you will soon see that the roti will start ballooning (literally!): this is normal, but you should knock out the air to make sure the roti stays flat. To do that you can use a spoon or a previously cooked roti. Roast until one inside is brown, then flip again and cook the other until golden on both sides. As soon as the first roti is ready, rest it on a teatowel, covered, and rest subsequent roti on top of the first one. When all ready, use them as a wrap around your delicious chicken curry.
So, what do you think? I do hope you try this recipe and if you do, let me know how it comes out!