I ate curry so much while I lived in Fiji, I have only cooked it once since I’ve been home and that was for my brother. A few weeks ago, my friend Matt, asked for my help with his class project. His group was assigned India and since I lived and breathed Indian customs for two years, I told him I’d teach him how to make curry. And to make it even more interesting, he hadn’t tried any Indian food before.
I decided on two simple recipes: chicken curry and tomato chutney. I would also cook white rice to accompany the dish. Matt wanted the recipe to be as authentic as possible, so I tried my best. I had bought Indian spices previously at the International Grocery Store off Richmond Road. I purchased garam (hot) masala, turmeric, black mustard seeds, and whole cumin. I also told him we would only be cooking with bone-in chicken. There is no boneless, skinless chicken in Fiji, believe me. Most locals purchase a whole frozen chicken and have it cut into pieces by the butcher or they chop it themselves. I decided on two bone-in chicken breasts for our recipe since it was only for the two of us. The recipe below is for 4-6 people.
The tomato chutney is meant to be added to the chicken curry like a condiment. Just mix in a little chutney with each bite or mix into the rice. I like lots of curry sauce and chutney with my rice. It makes it easier to stick together, especially when you are eating with your hands.
The curry turned out great, just like I remembered. The smells wafting through my apartment definitely took me back to my host family’s house. Matt loved the food and ate it traditionally with his hands. He is definitely a fan of Indian food now.
3 lb whole chicken fryer, cut into pieces
1 garlic bulb (yes that’s right!)
1 medium onion, diced
1 TB black mustard seeds
1 TB whole cumin
2 tsp gingerroot, peeled and chopped
2 tsp turmeric
3 TP garam masala
4 TB oil
1 cup cilantro, chopped
Salt to taste
Using a large heavy pan, heat the oil over medium to medium high heat. Add the mustard and cumin seeds to the oil. When the spices start popping, add the diced onion. In a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, ginger, and chilies together. Add salt to make a paste. After the onions start softening, add the garlic mixture. Cook for 2-4 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Put the garam masala and turmeric in a small bowl and add water to make a runny paste. Add to the pan. Stir quickly and watch the heat, this will burn very fast if you are not careful. Add the chicken pieces and stir. 1-2 minutes later, add water to the pan. This will help make the sauce for the chicken and rice. Cook the chicken until tender. After removing from the stove, add the cilantro.
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp whole cumin
1 small onion, chopped
1 TB oil
Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the mustard and cumin seeds. When they start to pop, add the onion. In a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and chilies together. Add salt to make a paste. After the onions start softening, add the garlic mixture. Cook for 2-4 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the tomatoes, crushing and mashing them in your hands as you add them to the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in sugar and simmer for 5 minutes.