Here's a recipe for an excellent- and aromatic- chicken curry which I've based on a version in Manju Malhi's recommended book, Brit Spice. It's similar-in a way- to the chicken curries of the Punjab in Northern India. I like the simplicity of the dish. It's a brilliant after-work standby: if you're in the mood for a decent supper, but can't be bothered to make anything elaborate. The ingredients are more than readily available in any supermarket- even one of those ersatz 'quick-stop' corner places.
Whiz up two green chillies, a generous knob of peeled ginger, a few cloves of garlic and a squirt of lemon juice in your magimix. This will create a paste. Put some chicken breasts into a bowl and smear them with the paste. Leave them to marinate for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, take a largish saucepan (I love those wide-ish, flat-ish saucepans with sides) and fry two chopped onions in oil, until brown. Fry them gently. You want them to go a golden brown colour, to caramalise. This will help to create a brown-coloured sauce. This is a good thing.
Stir in a teaspoon or so of garam masala, a teaspoon of turmeric and a generous pinch of sea salt. Add the marinated chicken pieces and cook for a few minutes, stirring until the oils come to the surface. Top the dish up with water, cover, and simmer for a few minutes. You can play around with the amount of water to add, depending on how thick you like your sauce to be. That's it. Incredibly easy, and you'll end up with an authentic tasting curry in no time at all.
Before I sign off, a quick note on Garam Masala. In Britain (a nation of curry lovers) you can buy this easily enough in little jars. It's a blend of spices used in the cookery of Northern India. If you're in the mood you can make your own:
Heat up a heavy frying pan and 'dry roast' the following ingredients: a handful of cloves, a cinammon stick or two, a few green cardamon pods, black cardamon pods, a tablespoon of cumin seeds, a few coriander seeds, one or two black peppercorns, a teaspoon of black mustard seeds and some grated nutmeg.
I gather that recipes for Garam Masala vary from household to household, so don't freak out if you can't get all the ingredients. Nothing is set in stone.
Don't add any oil to the pan- you just want to toss the spices very quickly in the pan until you start smelling the aromas. Make sure they don't burn. We're only talking about a minute or so on the heat. Whizz them up on in a coffee grinder or spice grinder and store. You could, of course, also crush them the old-fashioned way in a good old pestle and mortar.