OKS Recipe: Chicken and Red Lentil Curry

Here’s one of our favourite dishes here at OKS HQ. The Chicken and Red Lentil Curry is ideal for people who do fancy an India curry, but one which does not blow your head off, and yet leaves you with a distinct flavoursome taste. The main flavour base here is Cumin which makes for a well rounded earthy-ness that acts as the foundation to the piquancy of the other spices. This recipe serves 4-5 people, and takes almost an hour to cook. But for Rakshashas like me, I could gobble it all down in one sitting. Kiddin!

The Ingredients:

For the Dry Spice Mix :
Cumin – 3 tsp
Curry Powder – 1 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Dried Red Chillies – 3

For the Wet Spice Mix :
Ginger – 1 Inch,  peeled
Garlic  – 5 Cloves, peeled

For the Main Dish:
Oil for frying
Chicken – 5 Breasts, cubed
Large Onions – 2, chopped
Red Lentils – 1/2 cup
Chicken Stock – 1.5 pints approx
Yoghurt – 3 tbsp (a good dollop or two!)

****After the Jump: The Method****

The Method:

Start by grinding the dry spices together in either a pestle and mortar or a grinder (the Kenwood Multi Mill accessory is perfect for the job!). A fine powdery finish is what’s called for here, but don’t worry if it ends up a little ‘rustic’ if doing it by hand. Set this aside ready for later.

We then want to mince the Ginger and the Garlic. I bung these into the same glass milling attachment so they pick up any residues of the dry spices. You can of course choose to grind these in a pestle and mortar or of course very finely chop them. Again, put aside for use a bit later.

This is the point where I also get the Chicken Stock ready. Everyone has their own favourite chicken stock. My preference of late for flavour and ease is to pour 1.5 pints of water into a measuring jug then add 2 heaped teaspoons of Swiss Bullion Chicken stock powder, give it a good stir, then microwave on full for 2 mins, job done!

Begin to brown the Chicken in a large pan with a little oil. How much oil really depends on what type of pan you use and how good the non stick coating is. Try not to overcrowd the pan or you’ll lower the temperature and end up boiling the chicken in the steam. Do it in batches if needs be. Make sure to pour off any excess liquid. When nicely browned remove from the pan as we now need to brown the onions.

Brown the Onions, Garlic and Ginger in a little oil until the onions are nicely golden and then return the Chicken to the pan. Add the dry Spice Mix and make sure that the chicken is well coated with the spice. Give it a good stir to cook the chicken with the spice for another 2 minutes on medium heat.

Now add 1/2 of the chicken stock and all of the Red Lentils. Keep the heat medium, and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to low so that the curry is gently bubbling. Now it’s just simply a matter of waiting, and adding the remaining stock as needed until the lentils have become soft and mushy. It’s these that make the scrummy thick sauce, Yum!

You can add the rest of the Stock in batches. The amount you’ll need to use will be determined by the brand of lentils you use (this can make quite a big difference) and also how thick you like your curry.

The length of time needed to cook the curry will also be determined by the lentils. It usually takes about half an hour for the lentils to give in. If you are in no rush then cook more gently for longer as the flavour will only get better.  The red lentils should now make the curry look like the one below.

Once the lentils get reduced, the curry is almost ready, but not quite.

We use a low-fat Yoghurt. And lower the fat, the later you want to add it in the curry. Turn off the hob, and let the curry settle down a bit. We don’t need to serve it boiling. Now, just before you serve it, add the yoghurt and mix well. Let the yoghurt coagulate properly into the rest of the sauce.

Serve it with a big plate of fluffy rice. Happy Nom Nom! 

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