I do love one pot cooking. A delicious dinner in under two hours with minimal fuss and effort.
Although it is never too hot outside to have a curry, the days are getting that bit shorter and its time for this recipe to start featuring in many incarnations on my dinner table. I use store bought curry powder mixes without any shame. I do add a bit here and there but feel that mixing a curry blend should rather be left to the masters.
If I am not in the mood for a creamy curry I replace the coconut milk with a second tin of chopped tomatoes. You will have to increase the sugar a bit since I find tinned tomatoes always need some sugar. The chickpeas are optional but I like the substance and texture it adds to the dish.
The heat of the curry is a personal preference so change the curry powder strength and amount as it suits you. The coconut milk does tone the heat down a bit and the quantities below delivered a mild curry. Add extra chilli to suit your palate. Or have some freshly chopped chilli as a sambal, someone will always need more heat.
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, mashed
- 1 heaped teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1½ tablespoons hot curry powder
- ½ tablespoon turmeric
- 1 heaped teaspoon dried chilli flakes
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 whole star anise
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tin chickpeas
- 1 tin lite coconut milk
- 8 chicken pieces (a mix of thighs and drumsticks)
- 200g baby spinach, washed
- salt for seasoning
- Plain yoghurt and fresh coriander to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
- Use an oven proof pot with a lid and gently fry the onions, garlic and ginger until soft.
- Add the curry powder, turmeric and chilli flakes and fry for another 2 minutes while stirring. (The mixture will become dry).
- Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the bay leaves, star anise, salt, sugar, chickpeas and coconut milk and give it all a good stir. Add the chicken pieces and gently mix with the sauce.
- Cook covered for 1 hour.
- Remove the lid and cook for another 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and stir in the baby spinach leaves.
- Replace the lid and let it stand for a few minutes for the spinach to wilt.
- Check the seasoning and serve with steamed rice and a dollop of yoghurt and freshly torn coriander.
Wine suggestion by Conrad Louw:
Curry is probably one of my favourite topics when it comes to pairing food with wine. The choice is as wide as the styles of curry itself. Curry can be hot/mild/sweet/spicy/sour/bitter/etc depending on the region the originally curry dish is from. Not to mention the various Thai curries!
I personally like to base my decision on the main ingredient of the curry ie. whether it is poultry, fish, beef or lamb but then you have to take cognisance of the style of curry. Most fragrant white wines such as Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Viognier and Bukettraube usually works, especially if it is slightly off-dry to counter hot chillies. And no better red wine works than a well-made proudly South African Pinotage.
For this particular one-pot curry which is aimed towards being milder with the softening edges of the coconut milk, one could go for a lightly wooded Chardonnay. I really enjoy Chardonnay, but for those people who still think it is in vogue to be part of the “ABC” club (Anything But Chardonnay), time to wake up – our Chardonnays are not the overtly wooded wines of decades ago. Keeping you in mind though, get yourself the Tamboerskloof Viognier from the Stellenbosch farm, Kleinood. Creamy but full-bodied, laden with white peach notes and clever usage of older wood, this wine will pair extremely well with the chicken-coconut dish. Try it – you will most unlikely be disappointed.
If you enjoy super-hot chilli curry which will make most people look like glow-worms in mating season – then opt for a cold beer, it’s always a winner.