Day 5: Chicken madras curry – packed with punch
Welcome to Friday and day 5 of The Inspiration Challenge.
Putting all these recipes together has really inspired me – that and made me really hungry!
But I’m interested in what you think? How have I done so far? Leave a comment below because while I pretty much have the November menu planned – I’d really love your feedback, ideas, requests and suggestions. What’s been your favourite recipe so far? Do you think you’ll give any ago?
Anyway, moving on to today’s dish.
I know I have given you a bit of a write-up about what has inspired each recipe so far. But with this one, it’s a simple case that someone gave me a madras curry powder to try and so – I made it up! (LOL) I do this a lot – just make it up as I go. With this recipe, I’m really glad I wrote it down because it was so yummy. The spice behind the inspiration was a madras spice blend from Whittington’s Herbs and Spices.
When I was a teenager, my mum used to work for this company. They are based in Western Australia and they do the most fabulous spices and try to grow as much of it as they can locally. Well, since my dad and brother took over Anglesea Fruitz, they were looking to stock awesome spices and dad decided to Google Whittington’s and see if their product is still available. Well, not only was I thrilled to find out they are still out there, but they have even expanded their range to include mustards, all different kinds of essences etc. So, dad got in a few spice mixes and wanted me to road test them.
So, this is what I came up with. I know not everyone can get this specific blend – but there are a lot of madras powders out there. If you go to your local Indian grocer, I’m sure you’ll find something fabulous.
Chicken Madras Curry with Fluffy Yellow Rice
- 700gm of chicken thigh fillets – cubed
- 1 large onion, finely sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2cm nob of ginger, finely sliced
- 1 red chilli (or more, if you want it super hot) chopped, with seeds removed
- 1tsp of Whittington’s Hot Madras Curry Powder (or equivalent)
- 1tsp of garam masala
- 1tsp ground coriander
- 1tsp ground cummin
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 cardamon pods
- 3/4 cup of chicken stock
- 400gm tin of canned tomatoes (with half a teaspoon of sugar)
- The juice of half a lemon
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put enough flavourless oil (canola, sunflower, vegetable etc) in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat and fry the onion until it begins to soften.
Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for a further five minutes. Add all the dried spices and keep them moving in the pan until they become fragrant – about 3 minutes or so. If they are getting too dry and are starting to burn, add a little water.
Add the chicken to the mix and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes until it’s browned and coated in the spices.
Add the chicken stock, canned tomatoes and sugar. The reason for the sugar is to counteract the acidity of the canned tomatoes. This is a great tip whenever cooking with them as you will find, especially at certain times of year, that they can be less sweet than you’d like.
Bring to a simmer and reduce to a low heat for 30 minutes.
While the curry is simmering nicely, you can put on your rice:
A lot of people find cooking rice a huge challenge – but once you have the right method, then it will work every time. Now my measurements are a little weird (because I use a standard coffee cup) – but it will make enough for 4 people. This is also the only thing I use my microwave for, other than reheating. I figure, why mess with something I know works – because when I use a saucepan, it usually end up sticking to the bottom, and I really hate that!
As long as you use the ratio of one part rice, to one-and-a-half parts liquid, it will turn out just right.
Fluffy Yellow Rice
- 1 coffee cup of basmati rice
- 1 1/2 coffee cups of cold water, or cold chicken stock (the stock adds a lovely flavour, but water is fine)
- 1/2 tsp of turmeric (I also often add saffron as well, but it is expensive and I like tumeric)
- 1 tbs of butter
Put everything in a large microwave safe container and cook for 12 minutes on high.
Once the rice is cooked, remove it from the microwave and fluff it with a fork. If it’s still a little wet, pop is back in for a minute or two.
That’s it – simple rice, right?
By the time the rice is cooked, the curry shouldn’t be far off. It’s nice if you have some fresh coriander on hand to stir through just before serving.
I like to serve this with a big spoonful of natural yogurt on top. I love how the tangy, cooling yogurt blends with the flavours and heat of the curry.
Feel free to adjust the amount of chilli to suit your tastes. If I was cooking this for Matt, who is not a lover of chilli – I’d probably leave it out. If I was cooking it for my dad, I’d put at least two chillis in and leave the seeds in.
Tomorrow will be a recipe for Baked Potatoes, Darwin-style. I have one of these everytime I go north – but as that is only once every year or two, I have made sure I can recreate them wherever I go.
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