Yesterday was Dan‘s birthday. He came over for a birthday meal, and then we surprised him with a lovely chocolate cake! I know that a curry isn’t particularly a special meal, but I thought that one made from scratch, along with naan bread, would be a nice effort for any occasion!
This curry was actually a really nice level of spiciness. I like a bit of heat, but I find that too much just overpowers and destroys the rest of the flavours in the dish. This was perfect. There was spice, but you could still taste the other flavours. However, the curry looked a little anaemic; so I improvised and added some turmeric to make it a deeper colour of yellow.
This was also a nice opportunity for me to make some naan bread! The original recipe stated that you should stick the naan with water to the pan, and then turn it upside down to expose the top of the bread to the flame to create those large blister-type bubbles on top. But I didn’t want to create a mess, and decided to play it safe. They came out more like pancakes…but they still looked quite nice and people always appreciate when you’ve gone to extra lengths. The dough however, was extremely sticky (which I believe is what naan bread dough is supposed to be like), so next time I’ll try it the way the original recipe stated.
We served this curry with a really nice salad; with olives, fresh strawberries and hard-boiled eggs. My mum makes such amazing and colourful salads. And this curry definitely thickens up the next day!
Well, I hope you enjoy making this beautiful and aromatic dish as much as I did! I absolutely love cooking for others, because for me it’s not only nice to see people enjoy and compliment something you’ve worked hard on, but it’s also a way to share time together and bond. Food is something that everyone has in common, which is most probably why going out for a meal is always something people find a socially fun thing to do.
Adapted from: Jamie’s Ministry of Food, pages 74 & 99
For the curry paste:
• 1 tbsp walnut oil
• ½ tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 tsp garam masala
• ½ tsp sea salt
• 1 tbsp tomato purée
• 5 tbsp desiccated coconut
• 2 tbsp ground almonds
• 2 tbsp dried coriander leaves
• 2 x cloves garlic
• ~20g fresh root ginger
• 1½ fresh green chillies
For the curry:
• 800g diced chicken (or chicken breasts, thighs or legs)
• ~40g fresh root ginger
• 2 x onions
• a large bunch of fresh coriander
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tsp butter
• 1 x drained can of chickpeas
• 1 x 400ml can of coconut milk
• curry paste (as made above)
• turmeric (optional)
• enough natural yoghurt for a large dollop each
• 1 x lemon
• enough rice for 6
For the curry paste:
Pop the cumin and mustard seeds into a frying pan, and put on high heat. Don’t add any oil, but leave the seeds on high heat until you can smell their wonderful aroma and you can hear them start to crack. Don’t leave it for any longer though, otherwise they’ll shoot out all over the place.
Finely peel and chop the ginger and garlic cloves. Not forgetting to cut the chilli, too. Pop that, along with the toasted seeds, into a small blender. Then add the rest of the ingredients to a blender, then whiz everything together until it’s a nicely ground paste.
For the curry:
Peel and finely cut the garlic along with the onions. Remove the leaves from the coriander and set aside for garnishing later, and finely chop the stalks.
Put a large casserole dish on high heat and throw in 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the chicken and brown it all over, then toss in the onions, ginger and coriander stalks. Add 1 tsp butter and cook until the onions are soft, but not browned.
Then, add the curry paste, the coconut milk and the drained chickpeas. Fill up half of the coconut milk tin with water and mix that into the curry, too. Bring the mix to the boil, and then leave to simmer for 45 minutes. If the curry looks a little pale, add some turmeric until you’re satisfied with it’s colour.
In the meantime, cook the rice! And when that’s all ready, serve with a fresh wedge of lemon, a dollop of yoghurt and a sprinkle of coriander leaves.
And for the naan…
Homemade Naan Bread (Pancake Style)
Adapted from: Rasa Malaysia
• 2 cups (330g) plain flour
• ¾ tsp baking powder
• ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
• 1 tsp sugar
• ¾ tsp salt
• ½ tsp olive oil
• ½ cup (150g) yoghurt
• ½ cup (125ml) warm milk
• butter for brushing
• coriander, lemon, garlic, coconut, black peppercorns (for the type of naan you want)
Sieve the flour into a large bowl, and add the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and salt.
Form a well in the centre, and add the oil and half of the milk. Then mix together and add the rest of the milk slowly, until a dough is formed that’s slightly sticky to touch, but leaves an indent when you press it.
Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes, and then cover and keep in a warm place for 2 hours.
Separate your naan into six balls (it will be hard as the dough is sticky wet your hands to make it slightly easier).
Then, heat a non-stick pan on high, and use a brush to brush a little butter to thinly cover the surface.
Stretch out one of your naan balls into an oval, and place it in the skillet/wok. After it has cooked on the bottom, use a spatula to flip it over, and press down on the naan to make it thinner and to spread it out, so as much of the dough is cooked as possible. This is similar to the technique I used for making banana pancakes.
Continue to cook on both sides until they’re slightly brown and crispy.
Do this with the other 5 balls, and set aside to cool. Then, you can reheat in the oven at 200°C for 5-10 minutes (or under the grill for a few minutes) with a sprinkling of water when you’re ready to serve them with your curry!
Enjoy your meal.