The year I turned 15, my Mom decided it was time I learnt the basics of cooking - and this Coconut Chicken Curry was not what she had in mind. If nothing else, she figured I could at least make myself breakfast without having to yell for her whenever I was hungry. Starting with the basic rule to making the perfect hard-boiled egg - where the yolk is firm, yet still melts at the touch of your tongue, I gradually moved on to more complicated things, like making perfect plain boiled rice - not mushy, not hard, but just right.
During the years since, I've played around with many of Mom's classic favourites - like this Coconut Chicken Curry. Oer the years, every time I experimented with one of her recipes, trying my best to add my own touch to it, I would keep a note of any changes I made. The next time we spoke, I would tell her of my experiments, only to get more tips on what else could have been altered and in what way. I would then go back into my kitchen and play around some more until I had it perfected to my taste. It would end up tasting nothing like hers, but it wouldn't be bad either. If I like it enough, I make it a part of my own collection - a stash of my tried and tested favourites that I always turn to when I want to please those I intend to feed.
Over time, many of these recipes have featured over and over again at my dinner parties. Some, for the same group of people who always request it when they come over. With time, I've shared many of these with close friends, who succeeded in bribing me enough to persuade me to part with some of my secrets. Likewise, they never fail to let me know when they try it out, and especially when they've experimented and made changes to it, only to come up with something better suited to their tastes. As the recipes move around, being part of many alterations and tests, one thing always remains the same. It's the circle we share, a cult of kinds, membered by those who love nothing more than a plate of good food and won't stop till they get it. And so, the sisterhood grows.
This Coconut Chicken Curry recipe I'm sharing with you today, is one that I use very often. It's quick and simple enough to throw together at the drop of a hat, and is always a crowd-pleaser! I love it served alongside some steamed rice, but it's equally delicious eaten with some bread.
Coconut Chicken Curry
- 2 tablespoon light cooking oil
- 5-6 fresh curry leaves
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 medium-sized onion finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
- ¼ teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 3 cups coconut milk
- 3 large boneless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
- salt to taste
- Heat oil and saute garlic and curry leaves for a few seconds till fragrant. Add in onions and fry for a few minutes till tender and lightly browned.
- Add in spices and fry for a few seconds before slowly stirring in the coconut milk. Allow it to come to a boil, and then add in the chicken pieces.
- Season with salt and cook covered for around 15 minutes till chicken is done and completely cooked through. Serve warm
This post was originally published in February 2007 and has been recently updated.
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