The chicken curry your family will make all the time

Sabrina Ghayour Week: Every time I make this versatile, aromatic treat, I am asked for the recipe

Sabrina Ghayour’s family ‘house’ curry. Photograph: Kris Kirkham

Sabrina Ghayour’s family ‘house’ curry. Photograph: Kris Kirkham

 

The first of our guest chefs contributing a week of recipes to Irish Times Food Month is Sabrina Ghayour, whose new cookbook, Simply, is full of great recipes that are quick and easy to prepare. It’s her fifth book, and has loads of interesting options for meals that reflect her Middle Eastern heritage and UK upbringing. Fast, simple and delicious is Ghayour’s message.

November is Food Month in The Irish Times. irishtimes.com/foodmonth
November is Food Month in The Irish Times. irishtimes.com/foodmonth

Admittedly, this isn’t exactly a Persian classic, but every time I make this I am asked for the recipe, so here it is. I hope, like me, you find it to be a very useful, straightforward curry base. You can substitute the chicken with prawns, or use vegetables such as caulifower, squash, courgettes, or root vegetables to make a vegetarian or vegan alternative.

Ghayour house chicken kari

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
4tbsp vegetable oil
1tsp black mustard seeds
1tsp fenugreek seeds
1tsp cumin seeds
1tsp coriander seeds
1 cassia bark stick (not a cinnamon stick, as they are too strong)
3 cardamom pods, crushed
1 large onion, very finely chopped
7.5cm piece of fresh root ginger,peeled and grated or very finely chopped
4 fat garlic cloves, bashed and thinly sliced
1-2 small green ‘rocket’ chillies or 1-2 large long red chillies to taste, stalks intact and split
8 large bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
2tsp ground turmeric
4 large tomatoes, roughly diced
400g can chopped tomatoes
Maldon sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
Flatbreads or steamed rice, to serve

Method
1
Place a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and pour in the vegetable oil. Add the mustard, fenugreek, cumin and coriander seeds, the cassia bark and cardamom pods and fry, shaking the pan, until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Stir in the onion and fry for a few minutes until it begins to brown and caramelize but without burning.

2 Add the ginger, garlic and chillies to the pan and briefly stir-fry for a minute or so, then add the chicken thighs, turmeric and a generous amount of salt and pepper and stir until the chicken is well coated in the onion and spice mixture. Add the fresh tomatoes followed by the canned tomatoes, then pour over just enough cold water to cover the chicken.

3 Reduce the heat and gently simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally to prevent it sticking or catching and topping up the liquid level with a little cold water if necessary.

4 Remove the cassia bark and cardamom pods, then check and adjust the seasoning before serving with flatbreads or steamed rice.

Simply: Easy Everyday Dishes from the bestselling author of Persiana, by Sabrina Ghayour is published by Mitchell Beazley, £26

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