Sunday, 15 July 2012

282: Chicken and Cashew curry with Black Spices

The switched on, may already have guessed that this isn't a recipe of my own devizing and possibly also guessed that the source is Camellia Panjabi's 50 Great Curries of India. Through preference (chicken bits & chillies) and ineptitude (cloves) I have tweaked the recipe. I did though try to faithfully follow the method. Camellia is pretty big on method, but not quite so big on explanation about the method so what the benefits of it are and so I'm not certain I was successful in doing so.

Normally, all my blog posts follow the same format -> blurb -> ingredients -> method. I'm going to deviate a little this time as I took a few pictures. First up, the spices went into an un-oiled pan:
In order to get a photo, I tried to be neat here, clockwise from the top:
  • 12 far cloves garlic
  • 7 fresh chillies (I upped this from  4 in the recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cinamon
  • 100gs dessicated coconut (is that the same as grated the recipe asks for?)

All these were cooked slowly for ten minutes to toast the spices I guess - although this isn't explained. After this initial cooking, the mix was looking and smelling pretty good. Next up was adding two thinly sliced onions along with a quarter of the cashews (from a total of 200gs).

Somehow the mix was by this stage looking a little less appealing. Once the onions were cooked, add 1/4 pint of water and blitz. This is supposed to be until smooth; but with my hand blitzer it was as smooth as I could manage.

Doesn't look very nice at this point does it? In addition a seperate paste is made up of 25gs of the cashews and a little water. This one, I really did fail to make smooth at all - there wasn't really enough stuff to get the blender working properly. What the point of these uncooked cashews is, is not explained.
The previously hot paste is left to cool, so essentially all this stuff is preparation.  Now, onto the cooking of the curry proper. Into a hot liberally oiled pan with the big paste mix for 5 minutes or so, then add the uncooked cashew paste for another 5 minutes. Then turn down to a simmer, adding 1 pint of water, a kilo of chicken and the remaining whole cashews.

And this is what you get at the end. Camellia's descibes a dark curry - possibly this is because I forgot to buy cloves and they colour it. Possibly because I should have got some more colour into the coconut at the initial cooking stage. It looks rather too pasty for my eyes.
However: tasted bloody good. The coconut gave the sauce a nice texture, the cashews added some crunch; which was pleasing. The curry doesn't contain the normal curry staples of curry powder or garam masala but somehow it still retains an essential curry-ness. By my upping the number of chillies I produced a better result for me; this was nudging madras heat hot which is how I like it.

There are many more stages in this cooking than I normally bother with. I'm not sure all of them are worthwhile. This is a recipe to be repeated; but next time I shall attempt to simplify.


  1. We want more... we want more...

  2. Sorry anonymous.... I've been awfully tardy. New post is a-coming!


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