For many years I was not a fan of Indian food. The reason being, I had only ever had takeaway that was largely creamy, processed sauces with essence of chicken or lamb. I was unlucky enough to inherit my Father’s problem with preservatives and processed foods that generally resulted in a rather unpleasant (for me but also for those in my vicinity, sorry Darl) attack of indigestion. Not pretty. Now that I have started cooking Indian food from scratch I can safely say it is a firm favourite and we eat it all the time. It is so simple, so deliciously tasty and extremely economical. This little gem was so fragrant and rather than chomp into large pieces of cashew, I blitzed them in the processor. Not only did it provide a gorgeous nutty flavour, it also did a fantastic job of thickening the sauce. I can honestly say that I cannot remember the last time I cooked Indian out of a jar or indulged in Indian takeaway (I still buy the naan on occasion as it is so good) and I seriously can’t stress enough how much better it is made with real ingredients. My indigestion has vastly improved so it really is a winner all round!
Prep time: 30 Minutes Cooking time: 1.5 Hours $$ Medium Budget
Serves 4 (depending on thigh size)
2 tbs of olive oil
1 tbs of butter
8 Small or 4 large chicken thigh cutlets, skin on and bone in
1 large brown onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
3cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 sprigs of curry leaves (a handful of dried will do)
3 tbs of Indian curry powder (I use Clive of India as it is only spices)
1 tsp of chilli powder (optional)
4 ripe tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup of water
1/2 tsp of sugar
1/2 a cup of greek yoghurt
1/2 a bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
2 tsp of garam masala
1/2 cup of raw cashews, processed until ground
Sea salt and pepper
Steamed rice, coriander leaves and lime wedges to serve
For the Mint Yoghurt: This is optional….it added a superb flavour but plain yoghurt would be just fine
1 cup of greek yoghurt
Juice of 1/2 a lime
3 sprigs of mint
Sea salt and pepper
Tear off a piece of baking paper and lay the chicken thighs on top. Combine 11/2 tablespoons of the curry powder and a heaped teaspoon of salt in a small bowl and grind with your fingers until the salt is a little less chunky. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the thigh fillets, massaging and rubbing it in so they all have a fine coating.
Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy based pan until the butter is melted and bubbling. Place the thigh fillets in, skin side down and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side until golden and crispy. Remove from the pan and place on a plate.
In the same pan, lightly fry the onion until translucent and then add garlic, ginger and curry leaves, stirring continually until fragrant. Add the remaining curry powder and chilli powder and fry for 1-2 minutes before popping in the tomatoes. Stir well to scrape any spices from the bottom of the pan and when the tomatoes really start to break down, season with salt, pepper and sugar and pour in the water. Bring to a simmer and return the chicken to the pan. Immerse the thighs in the sauce, spooning sauce over the top of any bits poking out, reduce the heat to a low simmer and pop a lid on for approximately 50 minutes, stirring occasionally.
To make the yoghurt, combine all ingredients in a small processor, nutri ninja bullety thing or blender. It will be quite runny but was delish poured over the curry.
Remove the lid from the pan and stir through the plain yoghurt and garam masala. It will look a little split but don’t worry, Continue to simmer for 10 minutes with the lid off before stirring through the ground cashews and coriander leaves. Bring back to the boil for a minute or 2 before serving.
Divide rice between four bowls and top with 1-2 thigh cutlets. Spoon over the sauce, top with the mint yoghurt and extra coriander sprigs. Serve with lime wedges, roti, pappadums or you can even shout yourself a takeaway naan!