One of the things I have come to embrace over here is the curry. Several years ago there was a program on the telly called Britain's Favourite food and it was not surprising that curry came quite high on the list. The shelves in every grocery store are stocked to the hilt with a variety of curry sauces, curry ready meals and you can find curry in any self respecting chippy in the land. Chips served with curry sauce are a very popular dish! (Kind of like the British Poutine, but without the cheese)
There are over 9000 curry houses in the UK, spread out all over the land. It's an industry worth some £3.5 billion! The British love affair with curry goes back to colonial days which entailed some two hundred years of British Colonial presence in India, where much loved traditional Indian dishes wormed their way into British hearts and tastes.
I tasted my first curry when I was stationed in Suffield, Alberta with my ex husband. This was the British Army Training base in Canada. We were close friends to many British soldiers and their wives during the time we spent there and often had dinner parties together. One night one of the ladies served up a chicken curry and I have to say it was love at first bite for me!
The other day I was wanting to make a curry from one of Bill Granger's books. It was a rich and tomatey roasted curry. I got the red curry paste stirred into the coconut milk and stopped to read the ingredients on the jar. It had shrimps in it. I had to throw it away then, as I am allergic to shrimps. (I know, poor me!) Anyways, I had to quickly rethink what I was going to do and this is what I came up with. We found it most delicious!
*Roasted Chicken Curry*
This started off as a chicken curry cooked on top of the stove, but I decided that I wanted to roast it instead. It is a dry curry, in that there is not a lot of sauce with it. It's tender and delicious though, and if anything tastes even better the day after, as most curries do! The ingredient list is long, but once you have everything assembled, it basically cooks itself.
3 pounds of chicken pieces
5 TBS oil
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 1/2 inches of fresh gingerroot, peeled and finely chopped
2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
3 bay leaves
4 whole cloves
1 1-inch piece of a cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
4 whole peppercorns
4 whole cardamom pods, bruised
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp roasted cumin
1/2 tsp red chili
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp mace
salt to taste
300ml whole milk
300ml creamed coconut
3 ounces cashew nuts, cut in halves lengthwise
1 ounce pistachio nuts, chopped coarsely
5 ounces sultana raisins
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Place the chicken pieces into a large roaster. Season lightly and then put them into the heated oven to roast while you make the sauce.
Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Put in the garlic, ginger, onions, bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamom powder, peppercorns and whole cardamom pods. Cook and fry gently until golden brown. Stir in the garam masala, roasted cumin, red chilli, turmeric, nutmeg, mace, and salt. Add the milk and coconut milk. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Remove the chicken pieces from the oven and reduce the oven heat to 160*C/325*F. Stir the nuts and sultanas into the sauce. Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken. Cover the roaster and return to the oven and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, until most of the sauce has been absorbed by the chicken and the chicken is very tender. Remove from the oven and serve.