Hi everyone BBC2 here, we are getting closer to Christmas…you only have to watch anything on television or listen to the radio to be reminded that we are in December (although it did start in October!). I know that Christmas has become so commercial these days but, given all that, it still brings out the child in all of us I hope! I also like the fact that, all be it for a short time, people are nicer to each other. If we’re lucky we also get stuff we would not normally get for ourselves but love, and of course, there is always too much food and drink.
With that in mind this will be our first Christmas together without any houseguests or going to stay with friends or family for well over 20 years! I am quite looking forward to it, eating what we want, when we want, and spending most of the day playing with our new toys. I remember our first Christmas together, we spent all day in our PJs and had steak and chips for our Christmas dinner, one of the best Christmas meals I’ve ever had.
So how does this have anything to with Burmese style chicken curry? Well by playing with different recipes over the years and taking inspiration from Madhur Jarrrey’s Ultimate Curry Bible, this is my take on her Burmese chicken curry. I have made some changes to it since I first cooked it and think this could be the one to cook for our Christmas day meal and break the traditional mould? Well it is that time of year where we are asked to make wishes, so this is my take on Christmas day for just the two of us in Cornwall.
BBC1: But of course there will actually be four of us here for Christmas, because Max’s brother Teddy is coming to stay whilst Lizzie heads to London for some Nanny time with granddaughter Tess. Liz was here last weekend for a sleepover and we had a film fest, watching the new Star Trek and Star Trek – Into Darkness back to back. Great fun and much alcohol was consumed…
Also, BBC2 made the following recipe for our meal, along with a new onion bhaji recipe and new lamb Keema Naans. With smashing new ‘Black Forest Tarts’ with Morello Cherry Ice Cream for dessert. We will post these later.
After, I think, a rather serious discussion about democracy and negotiation when it comes to what we are eating for Christmas dinner! Plus one or two pointers on communication skills…in particular that it’s not a good idea to hear of such an idea via an email for the blog…humpf…
1kg/2.3 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons hot curry powder
½ teaspoon garam masala
1¼ teaspoons salt
2 medium potatoes peeled and diced into 1inchish cubes
2 large carrots peeled and diced into 1inchish cubes
2 large onions
3 cloves of garlic
2.5cm/1 inch piece of ginger peeled
1 dried red Kashmiri chili or hot chili flakes
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 stick lemon grass 15cm/6 inches slightly crushed
4 tablespoons oil
400g tin of tomatoes
250ml/8floz hot chicken stock
Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and put them into a large bowl, mix 2 teaspoons of hot curry powder with ½ teaspoon of garam masala and 1½ tsp salt, now, using your hand, rub the mix into the diced chicken so that it all gets well coated, cover with cling film and put into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Put the onions, garlic, ginger and kashmiri pepper in a blender and pulse until you have a fine paste, add a few drops of water to loosen if the mixture is too stiff, when the mixture is a fine paste add the smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and pulse just to combine them.
Now in a large heatproof casserole dish or frying pan, on a medium heat, put 1 tablespoon of oil and add the onion mixture stirring while it cooks for about 5 minutes, the mixture should start changing colour and release its aroma. At that point push the onion mixture to the side of the pan and add another tablespoon of oil and some of the chicken, enough so that it fries and not stews or steams. Fry the chicken so it starts to colour but not brown, you can when moving the chicken around the pan mix with the onion mixture then remove all the chicken in the pan to a clean plate and add another tablespoon of oil and repeat until all the chicken has been coloured, then put all the chicken back in the casserole dish/pan and stir it together.
Put the tinned tomatoes into the blender and pulse until smooth and add them to the pan, then add the lemon grass, fish sauce, potatoes and carrots, stirring it all together. Also add the chicken stock and turn down the heat to a rolling simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
Then put the lid on the pot and place it in a preheated oven (160c fan) for an hour, giving it a stir after 30 to 40 minutes and checking the thickness of the sauce, if it needs to thicken a little more return to the oven without the lid and check again in 15 minutes or so until it has thickened to your taste. When it is ready remove the lemon grass. I like to serve it with boiled rice and my home made onion bhajis and stuffed naan bread.
Do give this chicken curry a try as I think has such layers of flavours and although it has heat it’s not a hot curry, I would be very interested in your feedback on this dish as we have played with different recipes over the years and I think this my best so far.
BBC1: I must say I actually agree that this is BBC2’s best curry so far. But he has neglected to say that the one he made for me, alongside this one the first time he made it, ended up in the dogs bowl! As I’ve said previously, I’m not a fan of ‘hot’ curries so BBC2 made a coconut based one for me, thinking this one would be too ‘hot’ for me. However, the other was so sickly sweet neither of us liked it. Max loved it!
He is also right about the layers of flavour and tastes in this one, I like it a lot, and would eat it anytime, just not sure I want it for Christmas dinner…