Yes – we are back to curry again! When I first met Leigh he had one cookery book – given to him by his brother, Pat Chapmans “Favourite Restaurant Curries”. Apparently Mr. Chapman had set up a pretty well known ‘Curry Club’ in London in the mid 1980s and members tried and tested the best (Indian) curries on offer up and down the UK and then recommended them (pre-internet) to the other curry club members – I guess he would blog about it today. In fact he has a pretty extensive webpage – just google Pat Chapman Curry. This book was like the Curry Bible as he succeeded in getting the actual recipes from these curry houses and they agreed to allow him publish them. I have used these recipes and they are amazing. Truly blow your socks off amazing. BUT they take a lot of time – these are curries that are prepared in restaurant kitchens, where the chef and his army of helpers start the day preparing the Curry base, grinding and roasting fresh spices, making up their own secret pastes and marinating chicken in tandoori yogurts and more spices. Where there may be one person employed to chop onions and garlic all day. I even went to the bother of making up batches of ‘curry masala gravy’ to freeze and yes, the resulting curries were amazing. But who has time to do this every time you need a curry fix?
So, on to a more recent publication, Pat Chapmans Quick & Easy Curries, where he observes that even he does not always have the time to spend the day in the kitchen preparing curry.
He selects his favourite 110 (yes – he is a curry buff!) recipes and publishes them with the promise that not one curry would take longer that 1 hour from starting to sitting down and eating. Many take a much shorter amount of time, like this Chicken Jalfrezi which you can be eating withing half an hour, give or take a few minutes. He also asks that you not be put off by the long list of ingredients at times – he recommends that you spend the first 10 minutes chopping and getting everything ready in the batches they will be used, then once the gas goes on and the first spices sizzle, it literally takes about 5 minutes to have the whole thing up and running.
This is one curry that you do NOT leave for hours simmering on the stove – it actually needs to be served fresh, when the veg and spices tingle on your tongue. This is not heavy or rich and we often cook it after a weekend of eating rich meals or when you might have to DE-contaminate after Piñata Cake colour poisoning!
750g Chicken Breast, Cut into bite size chunks
2 – 3 tablespoons Ghee (if you have it, use butter if not)
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Fennel Seeds
(put these in a little ramekin dish)
1 chopped Red Pepper
1 chopped Green Pepper
1 (minimum) green chilli
(chop these and put on a plate)
1/2 jar Curry Paste (I always use Pataks, either Madras Paste or Balti)
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
2 inches Fresh Ginger, chopped
Bunch Spring Onions, chopped
(put the chopped Garlic, Ginger & Onions on a small plate, ready)
8 cherry tomatoes
Bunch fresh chopped Corriander Leaves
Small bunch fresh Mint Leaves, chopped
(have these three ready together)
1 tablespoon Garam Masala Spice
1 teasp brown sugar
1/2 teasp Worcestershire Sauce
(these last three go in right before you serve)
Right. You have now done most of the prep. Its literally a matter of putting it all together.
- Heat the butter or Ghee in a large saucepan (I use my Le Cruset-like casserole). Stir fry the turmeric & seeds for 10 seconds. (aren’t you glad you have them all prepared and ready now?!)
- Add the Peppers and Chilli and fry for about 4 minutes
- Add the Curry Paste, Garlic, Ginger & Onions. Fry for about 5 minutes.
- Add the Chicken pieces and stir fry for approx. 5 minutes. (Don’t allow to burn / stick)
- Add the tomatoes, leaves and about a cup of water to keep it all mobile. Simmer for about another 5 minutes.
- Check that the chicken is cooked all the way through. Add the Garam Masala, sugar & Worcestershire Sauce. Stir in for one more minute.
Now just eat!!