As South African born and raised in Cape Town, curried chicken was a staple dish in my house. For me, curry is home, curry is comfort food, curry is something I can always throw together because I always have all the ingredients on hand.
In the midst of the lock down in the spring, as a watched in dismay as my curry spices dwindled, I went online and found that you can order and have delivered the wonderful spices available from Spice Mountain in the UK. They have every kind of curry spice (and others) you can imagine. I ordered a bunch of spices and my curry cooking was able to continue unhindered! You can also explore your nearest market or spice store if you’re out and about.
During those weeks when everyone was home, and I was constantly cooking meals. Cooking quick and easy main courses was vital. So here’s one I adapted to make it non-dairy. I use the chicken fillets (that small and juicy part of the breast that doesn’t dry out as much). This means that the meat needs to prep and can be cooked without any bother. The dish takes about 45 minutes to prepare start to finish.
CURRIED CHICKEN FILLETS IN A PAN
1 kg (2lb) chicken fillets (if you can’t get fillets you can used chicken breasts sliced width-ways)
2 teaspoons salt
2-3 tablespoons oil
1 large onion roughly chopped
2 red peppers sliced lengthwise
4-5 cloves of garlic crushed
1 red chili finely chopped or 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1-2 teaspoons of minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon water
1 400g (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 400g (15 oz) can coconut cream
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon garam masala (optional)
Juice of half a lemon
How to do it
- Sprinkle the fillets with salt and lightly pan fry them in a large pan or wok in the oil on medium high heat until they are lightly browned on either side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- In the same wok or pan, add a little more oil and fry the onions and peppers until they start softening and the onion is translucent. Add the ginger and chili and fry for a minute, and then add the garlic and fry for another minute. Add the curry power, turmeric, cumin, cayenne pepper (if using) and the 1 tablespoon of water and stir together for about 1 minutes.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, coconut cream, chopped cilantro and salt, and stir together. Bring to the boil and add the chicken back into the pan with any juices on the plate. Add about a half a cup of water, stir to ensure the chicken is covered with the sauce and bring to the boil. Add the garam masala and mix. Reduce the heat, cover, and allow the chicken to simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle the lemon juice over the dish before serving.
Serve over rice.