Chicken Curry to me is one of those no-fail comfort foods that never cease to please. They can be made in a million ways, each tasting dramatically different from the other, yet instill that familiar warmth and coziness that only comes with eating food that’s been cooked with love. It doesn’t matter how many times I cook my chicken in the curry form – it rarely ever tastes the same. This itself, to me adds that extra oomph.
A few weekends ago, we met up with some close friends of ours after what seemed like ages. After a hearty meal at one of our favourite restaurants, we cajoled them over to our home for coffee and cake. Don’t you just love it when friends feel like family and you never know how time goes by with them around? Well, before we knew it, the coffee mugs were loaded into the dishwasher, the cake crumbs swept cleaned, and Hubby Dear cracked open a bottle of wine. I laid out a platter of assorted crackers and some cheese (call me insane, but I always seem to have atleast 4 different varieties of cheese in my fridge!) and began slicing and dicing for a quick dinner.
Dinner. On a whim. For guests. NO. BIG. DEAL.
Of all things I’m OCD about, I pride myself in always having a full fridge and pantry – full enough to whip up a meal for at least 10 people at the drop of a hat. Yes, I’m that person! We once invited a big group of friends over for a BBQ dinner after a day at the beach. We had enough meat, veggies and sides for a hearty meal that was enjoyed by all. All they needed to pick up on the way over was a tub of ice cream for dessert. I refrain from stocking up desserts since I seldom can control myself from eating it all!
Coming back to that weekend I was telling you about, I decided to make this quick home-style rustic Chicken Curry alongside some Pulao and a huge salad. The meal came together quickly and perfectly. This recipe is perfect for times when you want a quick, no-fuss hearty dish. The ingredients are chopped, thrown in the pan one after the other, and the end result comes out lip-smacking good. What can I say, when in doubt – always make a curry!
HOMESTYLE CHICKEN CURRY
PREP TIME: 10 MIN | COOKING TIME: 25 MIN | SERVES: 4 AS MAIN, 6 AS SIDE
2 tbsp light cooking oil
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole black cardamom pods
1 star anise
3-4 whole cloves
2 dried bay leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
salt, to taste
10-12 chicken drumsticks
1/2 cup plain yogurt, beaten till smooth
water, as needed
a handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped for garnish
Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan and add in whole spices and cumin seeds. As soon as they begin to sizzle, add in chopped onions, and fry for 3-5 minutes on medium heat till onions turn pink and tender. Add in ginger and garlic pastes and sauté for another minute or two till fragrant.
Add in spices and tomato paste, and fry for a couple of minutes to blend well. If it starts to dry out and stick to the bottom of the pan, add in a splash of water.
Mix in chopped tomatoes and salt, and cook for a few minutes till the tomatoes pulp and starts to release oil around the sides of the pan. Add in the chicken, mix well and cook covered on low heat for 3-4 minutes.
Once the chicken starts to give out its own moisture, slowly stir in beaten yogurt forming a smooth gravy base. Feel free to add in more water depending on the consistency you prefer. Cook covered for 10-12 minutes on medium-low heat till chicken is completely cooked through. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander leaves and serve piping hot with a side of rotis or rice, and a salad.