MADRAS CHICKEN CURRY - AN OLD COLONIAL ANGLO-INDIAN DISH
This is an old Anglo-Indian Recipe from my book A COLLECTION OF SIMPLE ANGLO-INDIAN RECIPES
The ingredients for the Madras Curry Powder is said to have originated as early as as the 1600s in the South of India. It got its name from the main city namely Madras and was mostly used in the preparation of Vegetarian Dishes. However, over time the same ingredients were used to cook many meat and poultry preparations such as wild boar, vension, wild water fowls and ducks, etc.
The Madras Curry Powder consists of a few basic spices and condiments such as dried red chillies, coriander seeds, cumin, cinnamon, fennel seeds and black pepper. These ingredients are dry roasted in a pan and then pounded to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle or a dry grinder and mixed with turmeric powder and stored till required.
This Curry Powder formed the base for many Anglo-Indian Dishes as well - Our very own “Pounded Curry Masala” in Anglo-Indian Terms. It was also sold in tins and packets in the olden days.
Here is a simple recipe for the “Old Madras Chicken Curry”
Serves 6 Time required: 25 minutes
1 kg chicken cut into medium size pieces
3 onions sliced finely
2 tomatoes chopped finely
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons chopped mint
2 teaspoon chopped coriander leaves
3 tablespoons coconut milk
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons oil
A few Curry leaves to garnish
Roast and powder the following ingredients together in a dry grinder or a coffee grinder
2 or 3 Red Chillies
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small piece of cinnamon (about one inch)
½ teaspoon pepper corns
½ teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf)
Mix the chicken with the salt and the powdered ingredients for about 10 minutes.
Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onions to golden brown. Toss in the marinated chicken pieces, chopped tomatoes, coriander leaves and the mint and mix well. Fry on low heat till the oil separates from the mixture. Add the coconut milk and about 2 cups of water and mix well. Close the pan with a lid and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes till the chicken is cooked. Garnish with a few curry leaves.
Serve with Steamed Rice or bread