This is very much a favourite in our house. It’s an unusual Indian dish in that it doesn’t have any dried spices in it. The flavouring comes from curry leaves, ginger and green chillies, and a good dose of souring tamarind at the end. I always use tamarind that has already been extracted from the pods because it is so much more convenient. However, if you have acquired a packet of tamarind pods, soak the recommended amount in hot water for 30 minutes then sieve, making sure you get all the juicy bits off that cling to the stones.
It’s a very different tasting curry, and I feel needs a bit of pickle and some well flavoured dahl to go with it. I also made some potatoes with peas, mustard seeds, ginger and shallots, and rice steamed with cardamom pods. I always steam my rice with cardamom pods when cooking Indian as I love opening them up and sprinkling the seeds over my food – quite apart from the delicious scent they lend to the rice.
1 tblsp vegetable oil
8 curry leaves, fresh or dried
2” lump of ginger, finely grated
2 medium onions, finely sliced in half moons
3 cloves garlic crushed
4 green chillies, finely sliced, including seeds
3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1kg of boned and skinned chicken thighs
1 desertspoon of tamarind paste
Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or wide bottomed sauté pan then when hot pop in the curry leaves and sizzle for 30 seconds. Add the onions, ginger, garlic and chillies, stir, and cook gently until the onions are soft and have started to brown a little.
Now put in the tomatoes and cook until they have softened down into the mixture. Add a teaspoon of salt and the chicken, pour in 250 ml cold water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
Remove the lid and add the tamarind. Continue cooking uncovered until the sauce has reduced to a thickish consistency. If wished, add another finely sliced green chilli with the tamarind. Taste, season, and serve!