Tag Archives: curry

Chicken Biryani


Another six months, another post. Christmas is drawing near yet again and I find myself with an hour to kill despite the fact that I still have 70% of my Christmas shopping to do. Saying that, it’s far too late to do anything about it now – they’ll just have to make do with a jar of homemade chutney or something.

And speaking of chutney – how about this? I cooked it for the shorts a few weeks ago and it instantly became my favourite curry dish…

Chicken Biryani (with wild and basmati rice), Dhal and Yoghurt 

Start by boiling the wild rice in salted water for about 15 minutes (it takes much longer than white rice to cook) and then wash it and set it aside.

In the meantime, take your biggest casserole dish and fry a couple of onions, at least 10 cloves of garlic and two thumbs of ginger, all finely chopped (actually, one of the onions I like to chop into slices so that you can see them in the dish). Throw in a few red and green chillies – as many as you can handle (you have to decide this one for yourself) and fry for a few minutes. Next add four roughly sliced chicken breasts and fry them in the same pan until brown but not fully cooked. Now add the spices. I would use at least the following: 5 cardamom pods, a tablespoon of each of coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, sea salt and star anise. Grind them, heat them in a dry frying pan until they almost start to smoke in the heat and then throw into the casserole along with a whole cinnamon stick and a bay leaf.

Then add the wild rice along with the same amount of basmati rice along with boiling water (twice as much water as rice), two handfuls of raisins/sultanas and a chicken stock pot thingy. Let the whole lot come back to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Now take the casserole off the heat and leave it with the lid on for another 10 minutes. When you open the lid, the rice will have cooked and you’ll be left with a beautiful biryani. Throw a big bunch of chopped coriander (that’s cilantro to my US friends), give it a stir and you’re done.

Serve with Dhal (I’m pretty sure I’ve already covered that somewhere on this blog) and yoghurt (and rotis heated in a frying pan if you have them).

Apologies if you actually know how to make biryani – this is certainly wrong in many ways, but it tastes pretty good to me


Chick and Dal

We might not have left the house for more than a couple of hours but that’s not to say that we sat on our arses all weekend watching 35 episodes of The Office. Far from it. In fact, we sat on our arses most of the weekend watching 35 episodes of The Office and then we got up and did a little cooking. Next week I’m going to get on the bike if it kills me, but in the meantime here’s a really good curry to keep you warm over the winter months…

Chicken curry and Dal

First, a disclaimer – I don’t pretend any of the following dishes are done in the correct way. All I can say is that I think they taste good – so if you read this and you start to become irate because I’ve missed something, or I have used the wrong spices then I apologise – I really am truly sorry that you feel that way. And do feel free to tell me about it.

Let’s start with the Dal – take about 250g of red split lentils and put them in a saucepan with plenty of cold water and put it on the heat. As the water starts to boil, spoon away the frothy scum that forms on the top – let it boil gently for about 15 minutes, ensuring the pan doesn’t boil dry. Now chop an onion, a thumb of ginger, four fat cloves of garlic and half a red and half a green chilli (seeds removed) – fry them all in oil along with the following, all pounded in a pestle and mortar: a quarter of a cinnamon stick, a teaspoon of cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorns, a tablespoon of salt, garam masala and turmeric. Once the onions, garlic et al are soft, add them to the cooked lentils with a little more oil, a knob of butter and a large handful of chopped coriander leaves. If at this point it’s a little too gloopy, just add a little water.

Now for the curry – the base of the curry is pretty much the same as the dal, just with more chilli (and with the seeds) – so start with the spices, heated in a dry frying pan, then put them into you casserole dish with a tin of tomatoes and a little water. Then as with the Dal, fry onions, garlic, chilli and ginger and add to the casserole. Then take 6 chicken thighs, pare away the flesh and fry in batches until golden brown and add to the curry sauce. Add  a handful of chopped coriander leaves and let it cook slowly for about 35 minutes. Just before serving, add another handful of chopped coriander leaves (and do the same with the Dal).

For the rice, follow my Iranian rice recipe – works every time…

What’s your beef?

I’m not an idiot. And I know that the vast majority of Hindus do not eat beef. I know that. And I can’t ever remember having beef curry anywhere outside South East Asia (or possibly, in the very distant past of 1970s Lytham St Annes, out of a tin), but that doesn’t mean that it’s not allowed. Or indeed that it, in fact, cannot be a tantalisingly delicious dish. Because, as it turns out, it can – here’s how –

Curry with Beef

Start by putting the following into a dry frying pan: two teaspoons of coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon bark and a couple of cardamom pods and warm them up, then pound them with salt (not too much just yet – you don’t want to dry out the beef) and pepper corns and put them into a large casserole with a tin of chopped tomatoes and swoosh the tin out with a little water – into the casserole also.

Now cover about 500g of chunkily cut stewing steak with a little flour and seasoning and fry them in batches in the same frying pan until they are brown all over. Not to ‘seal’ them, but to caramelise the sugars in the beef thus bringing out more flavour (I mean really – what does sealing mean? Come on people – It’s time to destroy the fallacy of the scientific chef – do you honestly believe Heston Blumenthal got better than a C at O’ Level chemistry?)

Next, take four fresh red chillies, a large onion and 6 cloves of garlic, chop them all finely and fry them gently in oil and butter and add the spices. Next, into a liquidiser pour a big handful of raw cashews and enough milk to allow them to blend into something like a smoothie. blend them. Into something like a smoothie. Put it all in the casserole along with a handful of chopped fresh coriander and a tablespoon of turmeric, and put the casserole with its lid on in the oven at 150c for at least 2 hours.

Now, when you want to eat, make some of this brilliant rice (you can follow the same recipe but only cook for 15 mins if you prefer, the 40 mins is only if you want a crunchy bottom).

5 minutes before the rice is ready, take the casserole out, pour in 150-200ml of double cream and another handful of chopped fresh coriander into it and put it back in the oven.

That’s it. really really good. And even better on day two…

Thai chick

OK – the prophecy has been fulfilled and the house is a bomb site. Smashed glasses, marbles in every corner of the room (don’t give your five year old access to kerplunk unless you want to be picking little glass balls out of every orifice for the next week) and yes I am in the corner, not weeping, but trembling – they know exactly which buttons to push…

We ate well though – two dishes for the record, neither of which I can take credit for – both of these came from Nigel Slater, who may be a little annoying on the tv but he is a great writer and his food is always brilliant (if you buy any cookery book, buy Good Food – you’ll thank me for it)

Thai Chicken Wings

Easy one this and the best chicken wings I’ve made for a while. Take the wings and put them in a freezer bag with a few finely chopped cloves of garlic, a few seeded red chillies, a few tablespoons of Nam Pla (Thai fish sauce) and of sesame oil, the juice of a lime and a couple of teaspoons of sugar. Give it a good jiggle about and leave it for as long as you can (an hour is enough, but a few hours is better).

Heat the oven to about 200 c and roast the wings on a baking tray for about 35 minutes, turning once or twice throughout.

When you take them out, sprinkle them with some fresh coriander and serve with a chilli dipping sauce, made with a simple mix of rice wine vinegar, lime juice, dark soy sauce, sugar, finely chopped red chillies (again seeded) and fresh coriander…

Thai Green Curry

I think this one is probably more strenuous to write than to cook, so here goes…

You start by making the curry paste. Take a blender and put the following in it, all roughly chopped: four seeded green chillies, three cloves of garlic, two lemongrass stems, a big thumb of ginger, two small onions or shallots and a handful of fresh coriander. Then get a pestle and mortar and grind a teaspoon each of coriander seeds, cumin seeds and peppercorns. pop them in the mixer along with the zest and juice of a lime and a glug of Nam Pla. Blend it. That’s it.

You will only need about four tablespoons of this for the curry so you’ll probably have some spare. In order to keep the vibrant green colour, put the remainder in an ice cube mould and freeze – you can then store in the freezer for ages…

Now, about half an hour before you want to eat, take a saucepan and pour into it a 400ml can of coconut milk, half a pint of chicken stock, 8 lime leaves, more Nam Pla, a tablespoon of green peppercorns and a handful of chopped coriander. At this point, I also added the leftover dipping sauce from the wings (which really worked – so if you haven’t done the wings, just add a nice glug of rice wine vinegar – adds a lovely sourness to the dish).

Take a few breasts of chicken cut into thin strips and fry them until golden brown in small batches in a wok, and them pop them into the saucepan. Do the same with  a couple of handfuls of chestnuts mushrooms.

Now cook it all together for about 10 minutes and you’re done…

You can serve this with rice (see the Iranian rice recipe in my archives – I know, I should have done sticky fragrant Thai rice, but I didn’t so you’ll have to make do. Or go to a proper food blog and get the recipe there…). Alternatively, do what I did and serve with rice noodles, boiled and then fried in the wok you used for the chicken and mushrooms, with a little butter and sesame oil.

Oh, and chuck another handful of chopped coriander over the lot just before serving.