what you’ll need:
- a wide pan (a wok is good but a big saucepan is fine too)
- can opener, wooden spoon, sharp knife & chopping board, all that jazz
- 5 tbsp vegetable oil
- 6 cardamom pods
- 6 cloves
- 1 tsp mustardseeds
- 2 star anise pods
- 10 black peppercorns
- 10 curry leaves (optional)
- 2tbsp crushed garlic (about 20g or 4 cloves)
- 2tbsp crushed ginger (about 20g)
- 1 onion
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 500g chicken
- 400ml coconut milk (a standard can’s worth)
- 2-ish tbsp coconut cream (optional)
- 2 handfuls of runner beans
- 2 handfuls of green peas
- 1 tsp tamarind paste (optional, or half a tsp lemongrass paste is good too)
- chilli powder/paste, sugar and salt to taste (I recommend making this spicy-ish if you can.)
(you can substitute almost any crunchy vegetable for the beans and peas - sugarsnap peas, mange-tout, baby corn, chopped asparagus, broccoli, even some cubed sauteed courgette if you’re into that. Either fresh or defrosted is fine.)
- slice the onion very fine
- chop the chicken into pieces (scissors work well for this)
- heat the oil in the wide pan. when it’s hot, add the whole spices (cardamom, cloves, mustardseeds, star anise, peppercorns, curry leaves).
- when the seedpods stop crackling in the oil, or after 1 minute, add the garlic and ginger and cook for a few minutes until the garlic is cooked.
- add the onion and cook until soft
- add a splash of water, along with the fennel seeds, coriander and turmeric.
- add the chicken and cook on a medium-high heat for 5 minutes or so. add a cup of water, turn down the heat a bit, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- while it’s cooking, wash and chop the vegetables. open up the can of coconut milk so you can scoop out the thick layer that will have risen to the top. put this thick paste in a bowl and set it to one side.
- about two thirds of the can should be thin and watery. add this to the pan along with the chopped vegetables. cook on a medium heat until a lot of the liquid has reduced.
- add the thick part of the coconut milk, along with the coconut cream (optionally), tamarind or lemongrass, and seasonings if you want them (chilli, sugar, salt).
- simmer until the sauce has a good consistency - it’s thinner than a lot of curries, almost like a soupy broth.
serves 3-6 depending on how hungry they are. you can serve with rice or thin rice noodles but it’s really good with bread.