If you are looking for a spicy, yet flavourful chicken curry that you can whip up in your own kitchen, this recipe is perfect. The reason why I am so confident that you are going to love this coconut chicken curry is that I have been making this for so many years. I have made this for my family, my friends and for myself an innumerable number of times in my own kitchen. And it has been licked off clean by everyone who has had it. So you can be sure that this is a full proof recipe.
So many adjectives come to my mind when I think of describing this coconut chicken curry. First up, this curry is spicy. I am not a huge fan of spicy food but I do like an occasional spicy curry on my plate. And this chicken curry makes for that perfect option. If you cannot handle spicy food at all, you can always skip on the chilies. You will still get a wonderful curry for yourself.
Ingredients used in this coconut chicken curry
Needless to say, coconut milk is the highlight of this dish. So I would urge you to buy some really good quality coconut milk from the market. This recipe uses thick coconut milk because that is what defines the body of the curry. The coconut milk also adds a subtle taste to the gravy and cuts down the spiciness of the curry. The resulting dish is absolutely stunning, filled with flavors that will make your heart skip a beat with each bite.
I always mention the importance of freshly ground spices in cooking. It just makes so much sense. Firstly, you have the freshest of spices which automatically maximizes the taste of the food. Secondly, you stay away from anything that might potentially be hazardous to your health. I do not need to emphasize on the adulteration practices of the spice industry. So making your own spices at home keeps you healthy. Now that’s a win-win for all.
There are four main spices in this curry that I make myself – cumin powder, fennel powder, black pepper powder, and garam masala powder. All you need to do is dry roast the raw spices in a pan and then grind them to a fine powder. Store in airtight glass jars and you are good to go for weeks.
The fennel powder goes really well with a south Indian palette. It adds a beautiful flavor to the curry. Fennel seeds are also known to aid digestion. I feel fennel, pepper and curry leaves make for one of the most beautiful concoctions in Indian cooking. The garam masala in the end also adds a vibrancy towards the end. The garam masala I use is mainly three ingredients – cardamom (7 grams, with the outer cover), cloves (2 grams), and cinnamon (2 grams). I dry roast these in a pan and then grind them together till a very fine powder is formed.
The secret is slow cooking
Every good thing takes time. This coconut chicken curry will require a bit of your patience as it requires some level of slow cooking to get chicken that falls off the bones. Slow cooking the chicken curry ensures that every ingredient gets its own time to dissolve and merge with one another perfectly, thereby bringing out the best taste possible.
The first phase of the slow cooking is once you add the chicken and the masalas. The second phase of slow cooking is after adding coconut milk. In both cases, the chicken needs to be covered and cooked in low flame for around 15 minutes. This is where you need to be proactive and check the chicken every once in a while in case you think it needs a stir. But do not worry, you will add enough liquid in each case that ensures the chicken doesnt stick to the bottom of the pan while cooking.