Friday 20 January 2017

Forkful's easy suppers: Chicken & chickpea curry

Aoife McElwain

Published 02/12/2016 | 02:30

Chicken & chickpea curry. Photo: Mark Duggan
Chicken & chickpea curry. Photo: Mark Duggan

I'm still perfecting my curry recipe but I feel I'm closer than ever to getting the fragrant depth that I've been searching for in my curry trials this year. This week I'm tweaking my black mustard seed curry to add chicken and chickpeas.

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In this recipe, I've used chicken breasts cut into chunks. As a matter of fact, the last time I made this chicken curry at home, I used leftover shredded chicken from a delicious Sunday roast. Instead of cooking up the chicken breasts, I simply added the leftover cooked chicken alongside the chickpeas towards the end of the cooking process, so that the chicken would heat through but not get dried out.

There's also a breast versus thigh argument to consider. Thighs are much tastier, though it is harder to find organic or free-range thighs than breasts. I've used chicken breasts here to keep things simple, but I would also recommend using three or four chicken thighs. You could add them at the same point, just before the coconut milk, and you could even finish your curry off in the oven so the chicken gets beautifully roasted.

For toppings, I've used crispy onions and I have a confession to make - my crispy onions are from Ikea. They're usually designated for Swedish hot dog toppings but I've taken to sprinkling them on my curries. They're definitely a guilty pleasure. Combined with natural yoghurt, lime juice and fresh chillis, they make for a deliciously crunchy and fragrant topping mixture.

Chicken & chickpea curry

Serves 2 with leftovers

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

1 onion, peeled and finely sliced

1 tablespoon of black mustard seeds

3 cloves garlic, finely diced

1 red chilli, seeds in, finely diced

1 teaspoon of tomato paste

1 teaspoon of ground coriander

1 tablespoon of curry powder

Half a teaspoon of turmeric

1 teaspoon of ginger powder

1 x 400g tin of coconut milk

2 large chicken breasts, sliced into chunks

1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained

1 small cup of basmati rice

To serve

Natural yoghurt

Crispy onions

1 red chilli

1 lime

Naan bread

METHOD

1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large, deep frying pan or a wok over a medium to high heat. Fry the onions for a couple of minutes, until starting to soften. Add the black mustard seeds and fry for another couple of minutes, stirring well. Add the diced garlic and red chilli. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring, until the garlic has started to soften.

2. Now add the tomato paste and cook for a minute, stirring well. Add the ground coriander, curry powder, turmeric and ginger powder, stirring so the spices coat the onion mix. Add a tablespoon of coconut milk to create a paste and cook for a minute or two. Add your chicken breast chunks and allow to cook in the paste for 4 or 5 minutes, until starting to take on a white colour. Pour in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer, bubbling away for 20 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.

3. Meanwhile, make your rice by placing one small cup of basmati rice (I use a small coffee cup) into a saucepan. Add twice the amount of water (two small coffee cups) and bring to a steady simmer. Cover with a lid and cook until all the water has evaporated. It should take about 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside and keep covered until ready to serve.

4. Add the chickpeas (and leftover shredded chicken if using instead of fresh chicken breasts) and allow to cook for another 5 minutes, until the chickpeas are heated through.

5. Serve in a bowl with a bit of boiled basmati and a dollop of natural yogurt on top. Sprinkle with crispy onions, slices of red chilli and a squeeze of lime juice, with some naan bread on the side.

This week's storecupboard essential:

Coconut milk: Having a tin or two of coconut milk in the storecupboard is a wise move for those interested in curries. I'd highly recommend Bunalun Organic Coconut Milk. Read more about this Irish business on nationalorganic.com

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