Friday, 7 March 2014

Friday Night is Comforting Curry Night

 It's Friday at last (yay!) and in our house Friday night is very often curry night. I don't know what it is about curry but it always seems to be the ideal way to round off a long, busy and stressful week. It's probably because I find it really comforting and the rich, thick, spiciness of it seems to have a calming effect on me! 

We've got some really good Indian restaurants and takeaways in Hexham so if I'm not in the mood for cooking there's plenty of options but I do think it's nice when the two of us decamp to the kitchen, turn on some music and enjoy a bit of chopping, frying and stirring while sipping a glass of wine or two (it is Friday after all).

I've got a long list of curry recipes that I've tried - some good, some not so good, some easy, some ridiculously complicated but I thought I'd share the recipe that has stuck with us over the years and makes a regular appearance on our table. This fairly easy recipe is from Jamie Oliver and produces a lovely rich and creamy curry without too much heat, although more chilli could be added by those who like their curry hotter. I am sure that curry aficionados would argue that it's not a truly authentic curry but it's really delicious and uses some nice ingredients. I love to eat it just with Nan Bread but rice is delicious too and if you're extra hungry you could have it with both!

Notes: The original recipe calls for a handful of curry leaves but they are really expensive and I don't think they add too much to the finished dish so I've decided to make them optional - if you happen to have some, put them in at the same time as the chillies and ginger.
The recipe below is for a chicken version. For a vegetarian version add 800g of mixed vegetables (any kind really) at the start when you add the onions.
I've found that thick and creamy coconut milk produces the best results but if you want to cut down on the amount of fat in the dish, a lighter version will work but the sauce may be a bit thinner.

Serves 4


6 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 fresh green chillies deseeded and thinly sliced
2 thumb-sizes pieces of ginger, peeled and coarsley grated
handful of curry leaves (optional)
3 onions
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric
6 tomatoes, chopped
1 x 400ml can coconut milk
4 chicken breasts cut into strips
1 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed


1. Heat 5 tbsp of the oil in a pan and when hot add the mustard seeds. Wait for them to pop then add the fenugreek seeds, fresh green chillies, curry leaves (if using) and ginger. Fry, stirring for a few minutes. 
Allow the chillies, ginger, curry leaves and spices to sizzle

2. Peel the onions and chop them then add them to the pan. Continue to cook for 5 minutes until the onion is light brown and soft then add the chilli powder and turmeric.

3. Add the tomatoes to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes then add the coconut milk. Simmer for about 5 minutes until it has the consistency of double cream then season carefully with salt. If the sauce is too thick, add a little water.

4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tbsp of oil in a separate frying pan and stir-fry the chicken and coriander seeds until lightly coloured then add this to the sauce. 

5. Continue to simmer the chicken and sauce together for 10 minutes, ensuring the chicken is thoroughly cooked through.

The finished curry will have the consistency of double cream

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