Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Nepalese Chicken, Caulifower & Pea Curry

It’s a funny thing, cauliflower.  Or at least my relationship with it is.  I think it can only be about a year ago that my lifelong hatred and loathing of it started to subside... and I remember what did it: tiny florets of cauliflower tossed in spices & dry roasted to resemble some sort of super healthy,  super tasty bar snack.  
Now, at least once every couple of weeks I get a craving for this most versatile of brassicas.

So last night I remembered I had half a cauliflower left over from cooking Madhur Jaffreys’ Cauliflower with Fennel & Mustard Seeds last week. I’d just bought some chicken thighs and for some reason fancied a curry a bit more 'off the beaten track'.  Eventually after a fairly short online trawl I came across various Nepalese recipes by Tulsi Regmi and the following is ultimately inspired by a few I read:

Nepalese Chicken Curry with Cauliflower & Peas
Serves 3-4

2½  tablespoons groundnut or rapeseed oil
½ tsp fenugreek seeds
½  cinnamon stick
2 cloves
3 cardamom pods (lightly bruised)
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, chopped
2  tsp fresh ginger (finely chopped)
3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1 fresh red chilli (finely chopped)
½ tsp chilli powder
½  teaspoon turmeric
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1½   tsp ground cumin
1½  tsp ground coriander
150g chicken thighs (cut into chunks)
½  cauliflower, broken up into florets (not too small though as you don’t want it to overcook)
1 large tomato, chopped
120ml chicken stock
120 ml yoghurt (optional)
½  teaspoon salt
75g frozen peas
½  teaspoon garam masala
1½ tablespoons fresh coriander (chopped)

Heat the oil in a large pan over a moderate heat. Add the fenugreek seeds and when they start to sputter, drop in the cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom and bay leaves. Stir for 1 minute or so til fragrant.
Add the onions to pan and sauté for ten minutes (turn down heat if necessary) until they start to turn light brown at the edges. 
Add garlic, chopped chili & ginger and fry for a couple of minutes more.
Add the rest of the spices (bar the garam masala& fresh coriander) & stir for one minute.
Add the chicken pieces, stir around to coat with spices & seal on all sides & cook for a few minutes.  
Add cauliflower and stir around on a lowish heat for a couple more minutes.
Add the tomatoes, stock, yoghurt (if using) & salt.  Turn the heat down to low and cook gently for 15 or so minutes but make sure cauliflower isn’t getting overcooked!
Add the peas & garam marsala & cook for 5 minutes or until peas are tender.
Serve with rice (I’ve a bit of a thing for brown rice at the moment), or a flat bread (eg. chapati) with the fresh coriander sprinkled over.
Although it doesn’t seem like a lot of chicken, this is very filling and easily serves 3, if not 4, particularly if you has it with a side dish such as a dhal as well.

The cats were feeling extremely lazy again as you can see...

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