This recipe comes from legendary curry king Pat Chapman’s essential Curry Club Indian Restaurant Cookbook. I have cooked dozens of recipes from this since I first bought a copy in the early ‘Nineties. This is one of my favourites. It involves a three-step cooking process of first marinating the chicken thighs, then baking them, then making a sauce, then combining the baked thighs with the sauce. Yes, a bit of effort – but well, well worth it. Serve with a creamy dhal and naan, chapatis or tortilla wraps.
4 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
Juice of 1 lemon
175ml Greek yoghurt
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
5 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
4 tbsp ghee or 4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp salt
Spices 1 (Marinade)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red food colouring (optional)
1 tsp chilli powder (or more, depending on how much you like heat. Optional)
2 tbsp double cream (optional)
1. In a bowl, mix Spices 1 with the lemon juice and yoghurt. Add the chicken and mix until it is thoroughly coated. Put in the fridge to marinate overnight.
2. The next day, preheat the oven to 150C/Gas 2. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on a roasting tray. Bake for 20 mins, then remove. Strain the liquid off the roasting tray and reserve.
3. Add the ghee to a large frying pan and gently cook the onions, garlic and ginger until very soft, approx. 12-15 mins. Allow to cool, then whiz to a puree in a food processor.
4. Return the puree to the frying pan, then add Spices 2, followed by the cooked chicken pieces, tomato puree and chopped tomatoes. Simmer for a few mins, then add Spices 3, the chilli powder (if using) and food colouring (if using). Stir and cook for 12-15 mins until the chicken is cooked through.
5. Finish with a swirl of cream, if you like.
6. Serve with naan, chapatis or tortilla wraps and Chickpea Dhal. Make this by adding 100g washed split red lentils to a saucepan. Cover with water, bring to the boil, then reduce to the lowest possible heat on the hob and cook for 25 mins, until the dhal is very soft and mush and most of the water has boiled away. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp ghee in a frying pan and gently cook 1/2 finely chopped onion, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 1 cm piece chopped ginger, 1-2 tsp medium curry powder. Once the onions have become very dark and slightly crispy, add to the mushy dhal mixture and stir through. Drain a can of chick peas and add to the dhal. Stir and heat through for 4-5 mins. Serve.