This is just delectable. Choose a curry mix that works for you – always a good idea to go for a masala blend and mix it with equal amounts of chilli powder. You can add fresh curry leaves (in-store now) to your spice mix too and some dried or fresh chilli. Recommending the amount of curry powder to use is tricky as it all depends on your taste and how much heat you prefer. My family like a very spicy curry so this was made with a mutton masala curry mix, with equal parts chilli powder added to that that a dear friend made for me after coming back from the spice emporium in Durban. I used 5 tablespoons of that mix as my curry powder part of the recipe which got us to the right heat for my family which is fairly hot without being painful.
Enjoy and please share your pictures with us if you make this, the recipe is easy to adapt to vegetable curries and anything really.
Bresse Farm heritage chickens – pre-roast – just cover with olive oil, salt and pepper, pop them into an oven pre-heated to 200 degrees and leave them for 50 minutes. Remove and strip all the chicken off the bone. Keep the carcass to make stock as a base for a chicken soup for another day.
If your nuts aren’t activated, just soak them over night the day before you want to make the curry so that the nutrition is unlocked. I used Earthshine activated cashews as the milk from cashews is extremely creamy and works well for curry but if you have other nuts on hand to use like almonds, use those.
You’ll need a heavy bottomed casserole for this but you could also use a slow cooker.
Heat the olive oil or ghee on medium heat in a heavy bottom pot. This is going to slow cook for hours so needs a strong heavy bottomed pot that can handle slow cooking. If you are going to use the slow cooker – still start this process in a pot.
Once the oil or ghee is heated, add the fennel, coriander, cumin and yellow mustard seeds. Make sure the pan isn’t too hot you don’t want to burn the seeds or spices.
Stir for 2-3 minutes or until you hear the coriander seeds start to pop.
Add the curry spice mix and curry leaves and give it all a good stir, let it all infuse and heat for about 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Add the turmeric and star anise and stir through for another minute.
Add the chopped onions and garlic and stir through with the spices until the onions are soft. Keep the temperature medium so that the onions and garlic slowly cook with the spices, you don’t want the spices to burn. About 4 minutes.
Add the stripped chicken, veg and raisins, jaggery or coconut sugar - stir altogether.
Add your nuts and the filtered water to a blender and blend into a creamy nut milk.
Add the tinned or fresh tomatoes, nut milk and coconut milk to the pot.
You should have enough liquid with this mix for the chicken and veg to have time to reduce and all the flavors to blend. If it doesn’t look like enough liquid – you can always add more filtered water.
Turn the heat down to low – and leave this cooking for 2 hours with the lid on, slow and gently. Note – this part could equally be an hour if you have less time. All that’s happening is that the spices, chicken and veg are all binding and the flavors developing. At 2 hours this just intensifies but if an hour suits you better, this is still going to be enough time.
You could also pop this in the oven at 150 for the two hours if you want to go out and don’t fancy leaving a gas burner on.
After 2 hours – take the lid off. You now want this simmering for another 2 hours to reduce the sauce. The flavors have all blended and the chicken is crazy tender - now the next stage is just about letting the water boil out to get the sauce to the consistency you are happy with.
I left the lid off and let it all simmer down all afternoon which was longer than 2 hours but that’s because I just love a very thick curry but 2 hours is enough to reduce it down.
If you did leave it in the oven for the first stage – you want to do move it to the stove top to do the reducing with the lid off.
If you are out all day and want this to just do its own thing – then you can leave this all day on a low temperature – or have all the ingredients transferred to a slow cooker.
You want to adapt this to suit what you’re doing. I was at home all day when I made it so it suited me to have it on the stove top, slow cooking but the second time I made it, I was going to be in and out so was more comfortable just leaving it in the oven on a low temperature and then just moving it to the stove top to reduce an hour before we ate it.
Brown basmati rice is fantastic with this and a sambal made of the African horned cucumbers, mango and coriander was sublime.
It’s always a good idea to let a slow cooked curry cool down for an hour or two before serving. It’s always great the next day too as the flavors have time to settle and get stronger.
Either way – just follow the basic philosophy, adapt it to what you want from the day and enjoy the pleasure on everybody’s face when they taste it. It’s warming and nourishing and worth the time.
* As many garlic cloves as you have the patience to peel, finely chopped I used Quirky Farm organic cloves, better and deeper flavor, they are smaller than conventional and ended up using about 15
** Any veg you have on hand that need to be used up, not more than 2 cups in volume. I threw in a brinjal that was ripe from the garden and courgettes I had on hand but use up any veg that needs to be cooked
*** Cumin, Coriander, Yellow Mustard, Fennel Seeds or what you have
**** (Unrefined cane sugar), coconut sugar or natural sweetener of choice. You can use xylitol (just sparingly as it’s very harsh on the stomach) or stevia. You can leave this out but I need a sweet tone to round off the spice as this is a very full bodied spicy curry.
***** You can use any dried fruit you have on hand here. Dried apricots will work beautifully too.