The late Tony’s Chicken Curry – The BEST !! He knew how to make a real mean curry !! Here it is finally and it is drop dead Delish!! Beef, lamb chicken or mutton
Aah! Come home to this on a cold winter’s night and you will eat the whole pot! Then shamefully you will go on "the eat nothing diet" the next day! ;)
Notes: Tony would often make this with lamb knuckles. To economize you may use lamb, mutton, beef or chicken. For lamb or mutton a combination of knuckles, rib, neck or chump chops will do – Any fatty stewing beef will also be great for this curry.
I have made this a medium hot curry. Tony always made a hot curry and added 1 – 2 tablespoons of good Masala curry powder. He always added 1 very large tomato. The red color comes out from the red chili powders. Tony would add an equal amount of cumin to fennel seeds but I always increased the fennel seeds a slight bit to get more a hint of the fennel coming through but not to overpower the cumin, so it really depends on the balance you prefer. If you don’t like a burning hot curry then, as I have done, in this recipe just increase the tomatoes. I wouldn’t suggest you go more than what I’ve used as it might spoil the curry.
To increase the red color of your curry you may: Increase tomatoes, red chili powder and may also add a whole steamed pureed sweet red pepper at the end.
Take all your seeds and put them on dinner plate is what I do and heat them on high in microwave just until they release their aromas and feel hot to the touch. What ever you do, do not walk away! Watch them that they do not scorch. Giving them a few seconds, bursts at a time. Star aniseed's burn very quickly so remove those before they burn or scorch! Cool and then grind to powder in coffee grinder. I add up to just over half and the rest I add to further boost flavor toward end once curry is almost ready.
I don’t add oil Chicken is fatty enough. I add 125 ml water together with chicken placed fat side (skin side) facing down and simmer away to allow chicken to release its own fats followed by adding onion garlic ginger puree (whizz together, metal blade on in food processor) together with turmeric, curry powder, just over half the ground spices and lastly followed by adding the tomato/es.
If you are using your own curry powder or bought masala blend (curry powder) like a wet masala or a Bombay Mix (See last pic) or any other of your favorite blends, leave out the chillies & or cayenne peppers as this will add the heat required. If you find you need extra heat you may add a split red or green chili. Which ever of the 2 you prefer.
1.736 kg (7 thighs) Chicken thighs or any other joints you prefer. He usually used a “fowl” in those days.
36 g garlic, fresh peeled weight
36 g ginger, fresh peeled weight
3 – 4 (650 g-760 g) onions, medium size, chopped (mine:760 g whole weight.Chopped weight: 650g )
1.012 kg peeled potatoes (10 medium size) or may use up to same weight in peeled potatoes as to washed and drained chicken
2 g (3 star aniseed), whole
1 Rolled cinnamon or you may substitute with 2 g cassia sticks if out of rolled cinnamon
2.5 ml cayenne pepper plus an extra 1/4 tsp (may also replace fresh chillies if out of fresh) Add only to taste. The heat intensifies while it cooks.
30-60 ml turmeric powder
60 ml Wet masala or 30 – 60 ml Bombay or chicken masala or curry powder. Whichever you prefer. If unavailable use 18 g whole chillies (I used 5 chillies) for medium hot.
304 g tomatoes, whole (unpeeled)
1 very large sweet red pepper if you like a red color (optional). Throw them whole into freezer-Keeps fresh but just goes soft once defrosted
5 whole cardamom pods (remove from pods & grind together with cinnamon roll, allspice & other seeds in coffee grinder)
5 whole allspice berries
5 green, black or mixed peppercorns
1 medium lemon or juice to taste together with pulp but NO seeds please! (Optional) Any left over vinegar from pickles is very good in curry!
4 g (7.5 ml) coriander seeds
4 g (7.5 ml) cumin seeds
Salt and a pinch sugar to taste – only if needed
12 g (22.5 ml) fennel seeds (May sub with aniseed if out of fennel)
30 ml curry leaves (I used dried) As much as a you like or up to a small handful of fresh curry leaves or use 2-3 bay leaves if have non
518 g – 800 g rice, uncooked weight (100 g rice per serving)
Tony would pound the garlic and ginger together with coriander seeds and salt into a paste. I used to use the flat back-end of the wooden handle of a braai or barbecue hook to do this in my cooking pot before adding the balance of ingredients but today I just use the food processor placing in given order onto bottom with metal chopping blade on, chopped ginger, whole garlic cloves followed by the roughly chopped onions which I place on top. Close food processor lid and give it all a good whizz to puree which is by far quicker. Seeds I roast whole, excluding the cinnamon and star anise in a wetted tea cup giving it four bursts of 24 seconds each, covered in a 1000 watt microwave oven or until seeds release their aroma. Stir in between and make sure they do not scorch. Cool and then grind all in coffee grinder, excluding rolled cinnamon or sticks.
The chickens have changed and take as long as the potatoes to cook now and the chickens are so much fattier now than they were way back then. Today I start by adding chicken pieces (thighs are lovely) skin side down followed by adding 250 ml water and allowing to simmer away until chicken releases it's own fats, replenishing water as needed. When most of the water has evaporated, I then add my onion-garlic-ginger mix and saute 5 minutes. Add all my spice mixture together with all my curry spices and then follows the balance. I pre-steam my potatoes before I add them. ;)
You may before you begin, place all your seeds on a dinner plate in microwave for a couple of seconds or dry roast them in pan over gentle heat, just to heat them and release their aromas. Do not burn. Cool and grind them in a coffee grinder - remembering the finer your powder the faster it will lose it's flavoring. The freshness of the spices do count for a lot.
1. May do in the old-fashioned way by pounding garlic, ginger and spices in a mortar or in the bottom of pot you are going to be using with a bit of salt to prevent it from slipping - into a paste. Today I just pop the ginger followed by garlic and onions into food processor and whizz it into a fine puree.
2. put all your seeds, excluding cinnamon and star anise into a coffee grinder after roasting them on dinner plate in microwave for a few seconds or until hot and steaming. Do NOT scorch! Put garlic and ginger on the bottom of food processor together and roughly chopped onions on top and chop with metal blade on. I whizz all up into an onion garlic ginger puree or paste.
3. Once cooled, grind all your seeds in a coffee grinder to a powder, excluding cinnamon and star anise. This makes a smooth curry sauce. Add all ingredients to pot without adding any butter or oil, placing chicken skin side facing down with 125 - 250 ml water to draw out fats. Chicken has a lot of fats so do not add oil. Once water is reduced and fats are drawn out, you may add your ginger onion garlic paste together with turmeric, masala or curry powder, roasted ground spices (you may keep half back to add when almost done which will boost the flavour as some of it will dissipate esp if your spice grind is too fine), followed by your curry leaves, cinnamon roll.
In this curry I didn’t use a bought curry powder (Masala). I added a sweet pre-steamed, pureed red sweet pepper to enhance color and boost flavor
In this curry I didn’t use a bought curry powder (Masala). To increase the red colour of curry without turning up the heat too much. Add a puréed sweet red pepper together with red cayenne chillies and skins left on tomatoes – esp the oval jam tomatoes. Pre steam and puree adding right toward end excepting for the chillies.
In this curry I left out the chillies and added 60 ml of wet masala which is all the rage in my area (We have an Indian spice shop in Sunridge Mall which really makes a good one) at the moment and really enhances this curry intensifying the red colour. In the 1st 2 pix I used my own seeds to grind my own masala but the bought one’s I must admit really do enhance the curry flavours! In this curry I did not puree in a sweet red pepper.