Category Archives: spicy

A Simple Chicken Curry

Plate of Simple Chicken Curry
Simple Chicken Curry

Chicken lends itself to curry recipes as it is low cost, plentiful, cooks quickly, is nutritious and liked by most people. Many curries, particularly those from take-away shops, seem to have far to much oil or have a heavy sauce. This free recipe is for a curry with a lighter than usual sauce and includes vegetables so reducing the necessity for side dishes and keeping the calorie count as low as possible without sacrificing flavour. It can be made as hot or mild as you like by adjusting the chilli and cayenne. Serve with plain boiled rice (allow 320g for 4 servings) and if needed a side dish of carrot and cabbage curry or a spinach dish.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

Simple Chicken Curry Ingredients
Simple Chicken Curry Ingredients
  • 400 – 500g (approximately 1 lb) chicken breast meat off the bone and skinless. If using thighs that are on the bone use 600g and cook slightly longer.
  • 1 large onion, about 200g (0.5lb) medium sliced into half rounds.
  • 1 medium size red pepper, approximately 100 – 125g cut into strips 1/4″ (6mm) wide and 1″ (2.5cm) long
  • 1 medium size green pepper, approximately 100 – 125g cut into strips 1/4″ (6mm) wide and 1″ (2.5cm) long
  • 3 medium size fresh tomatoes, approximately 6oz (300g) , peeled and cut into 8 segments
  • 1 medium size (2″ or 5cm long) hot green chilli. More may be used if you prefer a hotter curry. De-seed the chilli if you want the flavour of chilli without so much heat.
  • 3 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed in a press
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3ml) ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon (3ml) cayenne powder, adjust according to strength required
  • 1 1″ (2.5cm) cube of fresh ginger, very finely chopped or grated
  • 3 (45ml) tablespoons lemon juice, fresh preferred but bottled will do
  • 1.5 (8ml) teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) water
  • Optional 3 heaped tablespoons (60ml) finely chopped fresh coriander leaves to garnish

Method:

Peel the tomatoes by putting them into a bowl and pouring over boiling water, leave for 5 – 10 minutes and the skin should start to separate from the flesh. Remove from the bowl and peel properly.
Make a paste by mixing the water with the ground spices in a small dish.
Prepare all the other ingredients.

Heat the oil over a medium high heat and add the onion when hot, stir and fry for 3 minutes or until the onion just starts to brown. Add the chopped ginger, crushed garlic and chopped green chilli. Stir and fry for a further minute. Add the chicken and continue to stir and fry until the meat has lost all its pink colour and has begun to brown.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the ground spice paste, continue stirring and frying for 3 minutes ensuring that all the chicken is well coated in spice mix. Cover and cook on a medium low heat for 5 minutes making sure that the mixture does not stick or burn.
Uncover and add the sliced peppers, continue stirring and frying until the mixture comes back to the boil.
Stir in the sliced tomatoes and salt, continue heating whilst stirring occasionally until the mixture is back to a gentle boil. Cover and cook for 20 minutes on a low to medium heat until the chicken is tender, check frequently. If the mixture shows signs of sticking, add a little water and bring back to a simmer.

Cooking the chicken curry
Cooking the chicken curry

Add the lemon juice and stir, continue cooking for 2 minutes. Add the fresh coriander, stir once and serve.

Notes:

  • Other vegetables can be added in place of some of the peppers, these include aubergines (add near the start of cooking), bean sprouts (add near the end). Always make sure that they are fresh. Try the basic recipe first.

Beetroot Curry

BEETROOT Curry At this time of year, if you are as fortunate as we are, you have a surfeit of vegetable crops. Here is an idea how to use one of these. It’s simplicity belies the smooth, sweet flavour that results. Do not eat too much of it, beetroot is just as good boiled or roasted, save some for another good day. What ever you do, make sure that the beet are fresh and not bitter or woody. Take them from the ground and store them in a clamp rather than leave them in the ground too long, particularly in winter.

Ingredients as an accompaniment for 4 to 5 servings:

  • 12 oz (375g) raw, peeled beetroot cut into 1/4″ (6.35mm) thick slices about 1/2″ (12mm) wide (wear gloves, they stain!).
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, I sometimes use a little sesame oil as a substitute
  • 1 large, fat, clove of garlic chopped as small as you can
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of corn flour to thicken, ordinary flour will do
  • Cayenne pepper – I use 1/4 teaspoon, this makes it subtly hot
  • 1/2 lb (250g) chopped tomatoes, tinned will do but fresh are better
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Some water, about 1/4 pint is usually enough but be prepared to add more if things get sticky.

Method:

Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan. When hot, add the cumin seeds and garlic. Stir and fry for a minute or so. Add the onion, continue stirring and frying. When the onions are just starting to brown, turn down the heat and add the cayenne, stir twice and add the corn flour or flour, keep stirring. The objective is to get the flour to absorb some of the oil. Do not get things too hot at this point. Add the tomatoes and salt. Stir and bring to the boil, add a little more than half of the water, you should have a fairly moderately thick red sauce at this point. Add the beetroot. Bring back to the boil, cover and allow to simmer for about 40 minutes or until the beetroot is tender.
If at any point the sauce is too thick, remove cover, add a little more water, take up the heat, and reheat whilst stirring.

Minced Meat Curry (Keema)

Keema curry to give it its proper name is usually made from minced lamb. Here we present a recipe that uses minced beef which is more usual in the UK and also more economical. This is a medium spicy curry that cooks quickly and keeps well. You could also use this free recipe with cubed casserole meat (beef or lamb) but the cooking time will be much longer, up to 1.5hrs. Serve with plain boiled rice and possibly a side dish of carrot and cabbage curry or a spinach dish. A lower calorie version of this recipe suitable for a diet plan is suggested.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 400 – 500g (approximately 1 lb) lean minced beef. Minced Lamb may be used but see recipe.
  • 1 large onion, about 200g (0.5lb) finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed in a press
  • 1 medium size (2″ or 5cm long) hot green chilli. More may be used if you prefer a hotter dish. De-seed the chilli if you want the flavour of chilli without so much heat.
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3ml) ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon (3ml) cayenne powder, adjust according to strength required
  • 1 400g tin peeled and chopped plum tomatoes, fresh tomatoes may be used but remove skins!
  • 1.5 (8ml) teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 lb (220g) new potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ (1.5cm) cubes
  • 4 fl oz (100ml) water
  • Optional 3 heaped tablespoons (60ml) finely chopped fresh coriander leaves to garnish
  • Optional for a lower calorie version: replace 100g of the meat with 125g of carrot diced into 5mm cubes.

Method:

Heat the oil over a medium heat and add the onion when hot, stir and fry for 5 minutes or until the onion just starts to brown. Add the crushed garlic and chopped green chilli. Stir and fry for a further minute. Add the meat and continue to stir and fry until the meat has lost all its pink colour, make sure that it is well broken up.
Reduce the heat slightly and add the ground spices and cayenne, continue stirring and frying for 3 minutes ensuring that all the meat is well coated in spice mix.
Stir in the chopped tomatoes and salt, continue heating whilst stirring occasionally until the mixture is back to a gentle boil.
Add the potatoes and stir. If the potatoes are not completely covered by liquid, add some of the water until they are. Bring back to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 45 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked, check and stir frequently during this time.
Mix in the coriander garnish, stir once and serve.

Notes:

If using lamb or lamb mince, it may be necessary to remove some excess fat during the early frying, this is easiest using a spoon at this time rather than leaving it until the end.

New potatoes are best as they should not break up. If using old or floury potatoes, add them later and check that they are not over-cooking.

The low calorie version should use beef mince and the carrot should be added at the same time as the potato. Restrict the amount of rice eaten at the same time to no more 3oz (80g) uncooked weight.