In the UK we love Indian food, so much in fact that curry is now classed as one of our national dishes. Our favourite restaurants are curry houses and our favourite takeaways are Indian food, but how many of us can actually say that we make the dishes at home in our own kitchens? For some reason people seem to have this perception that Indian food is far too difficult to make and that it should be left down to the professionals. Well, let’s change that view.
By no means am I saying that Indian cuisine is easy to make. It’s not. In fact, getting a good balance of spices is quite a hard thing to achieve, and in Indian cooking the success of that balancing of spices lies in the quality of your curry paste. This forms the base of the dish and creates most the flavours that you can taste in any Indian meal, therefore it has to be good and packed full of flavour.
In my opinion home cooked food will always win against a jar or a packet, no matter what the brand. Let’s start treating Indian cuisine in the same way we do a roast dinner. Homemade and full of love.
4 chicken legs, skin on
1 tablespoon groundnut oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Half a teaspoon coriander seeds
Half a teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 red chilli, chopped
Half a teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon tomato puree
2 tablespoons freshly chopped coriander
2 pinches of salt
1kg potatoes, peeled, chopped and parboiled
1 whole garlic, cut in half
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
Half a teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 red chilli, roughly chopped
2 beef tomatoes, roughly chopped
100g fresh spinach
Salt and fresh black pepper
- First, make the curry paste for the chicken. Heat the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and coriander seeds in a hot pan and lightly toast. Don’t do this for too long or the mustard seeds will begin to bounce out of the pan! Once lightly toasted, using a pestle and mortar, grind the seeds together.
- Add in all the rest of the ingredients for the chicken and grind into a paste. Add more groundnut oil to loosen the paste a bit if necessary.
- Score the skin on the chicken legs and then rub the curry paste into the meat making sure it is well coated. Cover and put in the fridge for at least an hour but preferably overnight.
- When ready to cook preheat oven to gas mark 4/180C or 160C for fan assisted ovens. Put the chicken in a large baking tray, uncovered, and cook on the middle shelf of the oven for 45 minutes or until cooked through.
- Meanwhile, heat around 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a separate oven proof pan and fry all the spices for the potatoes over a high heat. Do this until they begin to toast slightly and then add in the potatoes, chilli, garlic and tomatoes and mix well.
- Put on the top shelf in the oven for 40 minutes, stirring once or twice.
- Once everything is cooked, remove the chicken and let it rest for a few minutes. Meanwhile mix the spinach through potatoes until it begins to wilt and then season with salt and pepper.
- Serve the chicken on top of the potatoes and garnish with some fresh coriander. I also add a dollop of natural yoghurt on top!