A couple of weeks ago one of Paul's colleagues sent home a tub of unimaginably delicious chicken. I don't generally favour chicken with Indian seasonings; I prefer mutton or seafood. This was so good I changed my mind though. There was turmeric, there was garlic, there were curry leaves, but I couldn't pick out the rest of the seasonings. So I badgered Paul to badger Murali into handing over the recipe. Murali is from Bangalore, but I don't know if this is a regional dish or just something he came up with. He says it is best served with jeera rice - which I did the first time I made it, but the second time I served it with saag aloo, because I couldn't be bothered making a starch and a vegetable.
Chicken dry fry (serves 4-6)
1kg chicken (on the bone has more flavour, but skinless boneless thigh fillets are easier)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 fist full of garlic cloves
1/2 inch of ginger, peeled
1/2 bunch of coriander leaves
20 curry leaves (I used dried but fresh is better)
Fresh red/green chillies (I used 1 seeded habanero, but go to taste!)
Splash of vegetable oil
1 inch of cinnamon stick
1 star anise
5 bay leaves
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Garam masala
1/2 tsp spoon ground coriander
1/2 tsp spoon turmeric powder, extra
1/2 tsp spoon chilli powder
1 tbs butter
Freshly ground black pepper
Chop the chicken into small bite-size pieces. In a bowl, combine the chicken with 1tsp salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric. Leave to marinade for a little while - either just while you do the next bit or for an hour or so.
Grind together the garlic, ginger, red/green chilli, coriander and curry leaves to a chunky masala paste.
Warm a heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat. First add oil, when it's warm add cinnamon, cloves, star anise and bay leaves. When they are fragrant add the chopped onions. When the onion is golden brown add the ground masala paste and keep stirring it for 5 minutes so that it doesn't burn.
Rinse the marinated chicken and pat dry before adding it in the pan. Stir well, to coat thoroughly with the spices. Add salt according to taste. Cover and cook for 8 minutes, then stir again.
After 3-4 minutes add garam masala, extra turmeric, ground coriander, chilli powder and stir well.
Cook uncovered so that the gravy reduces almost to nothing (it is a dry fry) and stir to make sure it doesn't catch and burn. When the chicken is cooked, season with freshly ground black pepper and salt. Remove from the heat and stir a knob of butter in. (I didn't add the extra knob of butter because I'd used skin-on chicken thighs which added plenty of extra fat!)