I was lazily channel-surfing one afternoon when I caught a glimpse of a man cooking in the outdoors. I quickly flipped back and saw that he was high up on a deserted mountain cooking a chicken curry on a small wood stove. He proceeded to make a paste with fresh turmeric and some other spices using the floor as base and another stone to grind with. It was all so rustic.
As I continued to watch, I learnt that he was in Sri Lanka making a regal curry. What struck me though was that the ingredients used were quite similar to Pakistani ones and most of them are readily available in a Pakistani kitchen.
I googled the recipe, determined to try it for myself. The programme was My Sri Lanka with Peter Kuruvita on NatGeo Adventure. It's a 10-part series and I'm not entirely sure which episode I was watching, but I'm glad I found the recipe online.
With the exception of sandalwood and fresh turmeric (I used turmeric powder instead) I knew I could get together all the ingredients I needed to make this dish.
Served with rice this chicken curry is delicious and so unique. I love the flavour the paan brings to it, along with the other spices, all held together in the slightly tangy coconut-creamy chicken broth.
I'm impressed Peter Kuruvita. Next, I want to try the Prawns with Black Pepper and Curry Leaf Sauce.
Adapted from Peter Kuruvita
1 chicken, cut into 8-10 pieces
1 onion, sliced
4 to 5 cloves garlic, crushed
4 or 5 green chillies, chopped
2 paan leaves, torn into small pieces
1 sprig curry leaves
10 black peppercorns
¼ cup cooking oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
4 cardamom pods, crushed
2 to 3 cups water
1 can (400 ml) coconut cream
Dried red chillies, to garnish
- In a large bowl or dish, add the chicken, onion, garlic, green chillies, paan leaves, curry leaves and peppercorns and mix well. Leave the mixture to marinate for about 30 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a large cooking pot, then add the chicken mixture and cook for a few minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink.
- Stir in the vinegar, then add the mustard seeds and turmeric and cook for about one minute.
- Add the cloves and cardamom pods and fry for another minute.
- Add the water to the pot, turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the chicken is tender.
- When the chicken is cooked, add the coconut cream, mix well and bring to the boil. When the curry has boiled take it off the heat.
- Garnish with dried red chillies and serve.