When I bought the shop from Rowland nearly eleven years ago, I liked a good curry but there is a big difference between appreciating a curry and knowing how to make one. Luckily Rowland was on hand to give me a few pointers and a couple of recipes. The first couple of years the results were, well, a bit hit and miss to be honest. It takes a good long while to learn to balance the spices, temper them and balance sweetness, acidity and heat in order to get that mouthwatering result. There are also loads of new ingredients and techniques to learn as well. After ten years I can honestly say that I am a bit better at making them but that I also still have loads to learn. One good way to do this is to try to recreate a curry from your favorite curry house. Following is a recipe with which I have attempted to reproduce a curry from my local up in Bruntsfield. In truth its nothing like the original but it tastes pretty good.
Brick lane chicken
500 gm plain yoghurt
4-6 chicken breasts diced
Large onion sliced
Decent knob of butter or ghee
2 bunch spring onion
2 green chillies (or more if you like it spicy)
One bunch coriander
3cms ginger (peeled)
1 head garlic (peeled)
I chix stock cube (or concentrated chicken stock)
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds and a Pinch of mustard seeds (toast until the mustard seed pop and the fenugreek goes a shade darker
½ tablespoon turmeric
4 level tablespoons of mint sauce
Poach diced chicken breast in water until just cooked through – strain and allow to cool (this will stop your sauce splitting)
In a heavy based pan caramelise your onions in the butter/ ghee on a low heat until light brown and catching on the bottom of the pan
In the mean time blitz in a blender garlic, green tops of the spring onions, ginger and half the mint (pick the leaves off the stems first), all the coriander and chillies
Once the onions are done add a little oil and turn the heat up to medium add all the spices and stir for a minute or two until the oil and juices have been absorbed. Add the stock and reduce until nearly evaporated. Turn the heat down and add the yoghurt and mint sauce. Add the cooked chicken and slowly bring up to a slow simmer for 2 mins. Check seasoning – will probably need a little salt and some fresh ground pepper.
The curry is now ready to serve it should be bright green/yellow – garnish with the remaining mint leaves, coriander, and the sliced white bottom bits of the spring onions. serve with steamed basmati rice….