Sri Lankan Coconut Chicken Curry

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Each year when October comes around, the weather cools down and leaves begin to brown. It’s the perfect excuse to add spices to hot drinks to gently warm you up from the inside, and everyone loves rustling around the back of their wardrobe for that favourite jumper.

I was really preparing myself for all of the above, however it was so hot today I found myself wearing sunglasses and eating ice cream! I literally have no idea what is going on with the weather during the day, however the autumn chill that we are so used to has started to make an appearance in the evenings. Its slowly becoming that time of year when we all secretly enjoy finding excuses to stay in on dark, chilly evenings, wrapped around a delicious meal and popping on some trash tv.

This Sri Lankan coconut chicken curry is one of my favourite autumn suppers to make. Sri Lankan curry sauces are usually very light in consistency, so even after a few cheeky bowlfuls you never feel heavy afterwards (trust me!). The beauty of this dish is how wonderfully the coconut milk softens the heat of the spices without making the curry feel heavy. Serve with fragrant basmati rice and sprinkle on a generous handful of chopped spring onions, coriander and natural yoghurt for a scummy dinner!

Serves 3-4 hungry mouths

Ingredients

  • 1 kg of chicken thigh fillets, skinned and de boned

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds

  • 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds

  • 4 shallots or 1/2 onion, finely chopped

  • 1 sprig of curry leaves, torn into pieces

  • 1 pandan leaf chopped into 1 inch long pieces

  • 1 heaped teaspoon of garlic and ginger paste

  • 1 heaped tablespoon of un-roasted Sri Lankan curry powder

  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder

  • 6 cardamom and 5 cloves, crushed and pounded

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt / salt to taste

  • 2-3 cups of cold water

  • 2 tablespoons of coconut powder/coconut milk

  • 1 tablespoon of thick coconut milk/natural yoghurt to pour before serving

  • Chopped spring onion and coriander to garnish

Method

  1. Heat up the coconut oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add in the mustard seeds and cumin.

  2. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add in the fenugreek seeds.

  3. Once the fenugreek seeds slowly start to turn brown, turn the heat to medium then add in the onion, curry leaves and pandan leaves.

  4. Once the onion has sweated down, add in the ginger and garlic paste and mix well for a further 30 seconds.

  5. Then add in the chicken thighs and stir for 2 minutes until they are gently browned on the outside.

  6. Then add in the curry powder, turmeric, cardamom and cloves. Stir well for another minute.

  7. Turn the heat to high and pour in 2-3 cups of cold water.

  8. Add in the cinnamon stick and salt, and leave to cook for 20 minutes on a high heat.

  9. Reduce the heat to medium and leave to simmer for a further 10 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked through.

  10. Once the chicken is cooked, turn the heat to low and add in the coconut powder/milk and leave the for another minute or so until the coconut milk bubbles.

  11. Turn the heat off and serve piping hot with a generous sprinkling of spring onions and coriander. I also love spooning some thick coconut milk or natural yoghurt over the chicken. Best enjoyed with some fragrant basmati rice!