Black masala chicken curry
Black masala chicken currySubscribe to Sainsbury's magazine
Anjum Anand's black masala chicken curry recipe is packed with aromatic spices, better than any takeaway!
For the chicken
- 20g ginger, peeled
- 5 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 medium red onions, chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 x 31g pack coriander, chopped
- 850g chicken joints (about 8 medium- sized joints), bone in, skin removed
- 2 tsp tamarind paste or lemon juice to taste
For the Black Masala spice mix (makes 150g, you will need three tbsp)
- 50g dessicated coconut
- 4 tbsp sesame seeds
- 45g coriander seeds
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp caraway seeds
- 8 cloves
- 2 whole black cardamom pods
- the seeds of 4 green cardamom pods
- ½ tsp black peppercorns
- ½ stick cinnamon
- 2 star anise
Can be made 1-2 days ahead, covered and chilled or frozen. Reheat in a lidded pan to serve.
First, make the Black Masala spice mix. Dry fry 50g dessicated coconut in a large frying pan until it has become quite golden, then tip straight into a bowl. Toast 4 tbsp sesame seeds until golden, then add to the bowl, and repeat with 45g coriander seeds. Now add 2 tsp vegetable oil to the pan with 2 tbsp cumin seeds, 2 tsp caraway seeds, 8 cloves, 2 whole black cardamom pods (optional), the seeds of 4 green cardamom pods, ½ tsp black peppercorns, ½ a stick cinnamon, and 2 star anise. Fry over a low heat, stirring, until aromatic and lightly toasted. Add to the bowl. When cool, grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder, or with a pestle and mortar, in batches if you need to.
Tip Look for black cardamom pods in the ethnic section in larger stores.
Purée the ginger and garlic in a small blender with a little water until smooth. Heat the oil in a large nonstick saucepan. Add the onions with some seasoning and fry until well browned on the edges, around 8-9 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic paste, cook out the moisture and gently fry until the garlic smells cooked, around 40-50 seconds more. If it starts to catch on the bottom, add a little water, turn the heat down and continue to cook.
Blend the tomatoes to a purée, add to the pan and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until oil starts to release from the sauce at the edges of the pan. Add the garam masala and 3 rounded tbsp black masala and half of the fresh coriander along with a splash of water and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the chicken; stir well to coat in the masala mixture. Add enough water to come 3⁄4 of the way up the chicken. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook gently on a medium heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and finish cooking the chicken as you reduce the sauce, over a higher heat. Stir and turn the chicken in the sauce as it reduces. This takes 10-15 minutes, by which time the chicken will be cooked. Season, taste and, if you want, stir in extra black masala, to taste. Add the tamarind or lemon juice and the remaining coriander leaves and serve.
Store the black masala spice mix in a sterilised airtight container in a cool dark place for up to 3 months. This is a great spice mix to have on hand for lentil dishes and cauliflower curry, or to flavour rice.
‘This masala blend is from the western Indian state of Maharashtra. I fell in love with its sweet, aromatic mix of roasted spices and coconut after trying some at a friend’s house . It’s mild enough to go in anything, and you can just add extra chilli or pepper if you fancy a bit more heat.’