Curries are generally a thing of beauty, halfway between a stew and a soup, they can easily be eaten with some Basmati rice, some nice butter naan bread or just by themselves. While most people will be familiar with the spicy curries from central and north India, and generally well versed in the nuances of their more herbal and coconutty Thai and Malay counterparts, south Indian curries can get lost somewhere in the middle. South Indian curries possess all the spice of there compatriot dishes, but have coconut cream or milk added to make them more fragrant, richer, creamier and more loose. This is a pretty standard and easy recipe to make, and the result is a more than satisfying explosion of flavour you would expect of an Indian curry but with the soothing coconut creaminess associated with a Thai curry.
About 500g of chicken thigh pieces cut in chunks (preferably bone-in, but if you prefer boneless, knock yourself out(same goes for breast vs. thigh))
1/2 can of chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup of good quality chicken broth
3/4 cup of coconut cream or milk
1 large onion finely chopped
1 tsp of ginger minced
2 cloves of garlic chopped finely
4-5 curry leaves
1 small bunch of coriander leaves
1 small red Thai bird chili, deseeded and sliced
1 1/2 tsp of turmeric
1 tbsp of lemon juice
1 tsp coriander seeds powder
1 tsp of red chili powder
1 tsp of cumin powder
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp of tamarind paste
2 tsp of vegetable oil or clarified butter/ghee
Marinate the chicken with the tumeric and lemon juice for about 2 hours prior to cooking. Heat the fat (vegetable oil or ghee) on a medium high heat, once hot add the spices and cook off until fragrant, for about a couple of minutes, then add the onions, garlic, ginger, chili and curry leaves and allow to cook until softened, another few minutes.
Add the chicken and the tamarind paste and cook stirring for another few minutes, making sure the onions and garlic don’t burn. About 3-4 minutes after adding the chicken, add the tomatoes and the stock, and bring to a boil.
Once everything is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 30-45 minutes, until the flavors come together and chicken soften. Add the coconut cream and stir in. Season with salt if required, and reduce the sauce further to the desired consistency and dig in!