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Cover: Some like it hot

14Feb 12

Sweetheart Chicken Curry with Fragrant Rice

Sweetheart chicken curry with fragrant riceThis is one of my all-time favourite chicken curry recipes that grew out of experimenting with the combination of spices and fruit. You can make sweetheart chicken curry mild or give it a real kick by varying the type and quantity of curry paste that you use. However, I would always recommend a paste rather than a sauce, which in my opinion gives a nicer texture and a better flavour.

The turmeric powder in the fragrant rice turns it a beautiful warm yellow, and the spices give a wonderful fragrance which complements the sweetness and zest of the curry. If there’s any left over, it’s really tasty eaten cold the next day as a coronation chicken alternative, or try it cold in a sandwich.

Ingredients for the sweet chicken curry
• 2 large chicken breasts, skinned and cut into chunks
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 4 shallots or 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
• ¼ tsp cumin seeds
• 2-3 tsp Pataks Madras curry paste
• ½ small tin of breakfast apricots in juice, roughly chopped or torn, plus the juice
• 3 tbsp light crème fraiche
• Bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
• Mango chutney to serve

Ingredients for the fragrant rice
• 1 mug of dried Basmati rice
• 5 cloves
• Pinch of turmeric powder
• 3 cardamon pods, shells removed and discarded
• ½ tsp cumin seeds
• Salt, pinch

Preparation Method
1. Dry fry the fragrant rice spices in a deep-based pan for a minute until you smell the scent released.
2. Add the rice and cover well with water, freshly boiled from the kettle. Bring the water to the boil, add the salt, stir the contents very lightly just once, cover the pan with a lid, turn down the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the rice is cooked.
3. Whilst the rice is simmering, heat the oil in a shallow-based frying pan, add the cumin and shallots, and fry on a medium heat until soft.
4. Stir in the curry paste – you can play with how much you add depending on the kick you’re looking for – and fry for a minute.
5. Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.
6. Add the apricot pieces and about half to three quarters of the juice from the tin, depending on how much sauce you want to make.
7. Add the crème fraiche and the coriander and stir in lightly so that the curry takes on a slightly marbled look with the white of the crème fraiche against the colour of the curry sauce.
8. Serve the rice and the curry onto plates along with a generous portion of mango chutney, and enjoy with a nicely chilled oaked chardonnay.

Takes: 15 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook
Makes: A generous portion for 2

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