Indian food must be the best in the world. I like a lot of things when it comes to food, but Indian definitely has a special place in my heart. I discovered Indian food when we were living in London, had never had it before, and I was stunned. The heat, the creaminess of a good curry, the amazing spices, there is nothing better.
When I knew that we were coming back to Germany, I started looking for cookbooks with Indian recipes to take home with me. I wasn’t much into the internet back into those days and I knew that if I want to eat Indian in the years to come I would have to cook it myself. Until recently there wasn’t any Indian restaurant around here, not even in the bigger cities. And about a month ago, surprise, surprise. I went with my friend and my cousin shopping in a town about 50 – 60 km away from us and we discovered an Indian restaurant. I couldn’t believe it. We had lunch there and it was great, real Indian food, like I used to eat in London, cooked by an Indian cook. I couldn’t get over it for days, I must have told everyone I know (not that many were interested or even understood the reason of my excitement).
It was the first time that my friend had Indian food and she really liked it. So much that lately she asked me repeatedly when I was cooking Indian myself because she would really like to eat that again, but driving 60 km to a restaurant is something that you just don’t do very often. So I did cooked this weekend for quite a few of us. We had chicken curry, vegetable curry, lentils, chutney and rice. To finish it a wonderful dessert, which wasn’t Indian at all, but still great.
I chose to make this chicken curry because it wasn’t too hot and we had 3 children eating with us. I knew that they would prefer to eat chicken with rice instead of the lentils or vegetables, so I decided to make a mild chicken curry and spicier lentils and vegetables. I really loved this curry, everybody did, there was nothing left in the pot. The meat was tender and the tomato yogurt sauce absolutely delicious.
Balti Chicken Curry
- 1 chicken, about 1.5 kg/ 3.3 lbs
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 3 medium onions
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cardamom pods
- 5-6 black peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon garlic, grated
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon chili powder (more or less to taste)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- coriander leaves
- Clean and skin the chicken, then cut it into 8 pieces. Wash the pieces and set them aside.
- Chop the onions and the tomatoes.
- Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onions and fry until they are golden brown. Add the tomatoes and the spices, including the salt. Lower the heat and fry everything for about 4 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the chicken pieces and stir-fry until the spices have penetrated the meat and the chicken begins to get some color, about 7 minutes.
- Add the yogurt, stir well, cover the pan and cook on low for about 15-20 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. Stir in between to make sure that the food doesn't stick to the pan.
- Add the lemon juice, some more salt if necessary and the chopped coriander and serve.