Chicken is a good source of protein. Whenever buying chicken, try to buy organic chicken, raised without hormones. Many local butchers that carry organic chicken will actually skin and cut a whole chicken in cubes for curry if you ask. When making chicken, make sure you remove all the excess skin and fatty content. You want the curry to be as lean as possible. Yes, the fat can add flavour, but it is not good to consume large amounts of fat. Many of the ingredients used in this recipe help offset eating a heavy chicken curry – for instance the cumin helps aid in digestion.
1. Chicken – 1 whole, diced (try to buy organic, if possible)
2. Onions – 1 large equivalent diced or 10-15 shallots
3. Garlic – 2 cloves, crushed
4. Ginger – a small piece about 2 cm
5. A spring of cinnamon
6. Green chillies – 1
7. Cardamom seeds – 2
8. Rambai leaves – 1 -2
9. Curry leaves – a few
10. Cumin seeds – quarter teaspoon
11. Fenugreek seeds – quarter teaspoon
12. Fennel Seeds – quarter teaspoon
13. Mustard Seeds – 3/4 teaspoon
14. Peppercorns – to taste
15. Jaffna Curry Powder
18. Tomatoes – 2 medium, diced
For this, you will need to clean and dice a whole chicken, with the skin removed, but the bone-in. Many butchers will do this for you. Once you have a diced chicken, remove all the excess skin, and wash it thoroughly with water and turmeric. Once this is done, Add half a tablespoon curry powder, turmeric and ground pepper to chicken and let it sit for 30 minutes.
1. Heat oil in a pot, and once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and they will begin to pop.
2. Add chopped onions, fennel seeds, cinnamon sticks, rambai leaves and mix.
3. Add turmeric powder and salt, garlic, ginger and green chilies and cook until the onions brown.
4. Once the onion has browned, add chopped tomatoes. If you do not like tomatoes, you can substitute this for puli (tamarind) paste, which also adds the sourness.
5. Cover and boil until the tomatoes soften.
6. In a little bowl, make a paste with 2-3 tablespoons Jaffna curry powder and water (you can adjust this depending on your spice level and how big your chicken is). You can also add the powder directly to the curry, but I find this works better in achieving a nice consistency.
7. Add this to the pot, and cover and cook.
8. Add cardamom pods, the marinated chicken to the pot, curry leaves, then cover and cook. You need to cook the chicken well through. The chicken bones will help create some gravy in the curry, so don’t open often to check. The chicken needs to ‘sweat’. You should cook it on low heat for 10-15 minutes (or longer), then high heat for just a minute or two before you remove it from the heat to make sure everything is thoroughly cooked. The last thing you want is undercooked chicken!
9. Adjust for salt and pepper and serve. You can let it sit a little then taste for salt, since you may not always be able to taste the salt when it is piping hot.