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Gurkha chicken curry


8 large free-range skinless chicken thighs , bone in
1 large onion
3 potatoes
4 large ripe tomatoes
½ a bunch of fresh coriander
vegetable oil
1 stick of cinnamon
4 cloves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 fresh bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 fresh red chilli , (optional)
5 cm piece of ginger
1 bulb of garlic
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
5 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon hot chilli powder
250 ml fat-free yoghurt , plus extra to serve
1 lemon


To make the marinade, peel and roughly slice the ginger, break up and peel the garlic cloves, then add to a dry frying pan over a medium heat, along with the fennel seeds and whole cardamom pods.

Heat for 1 minute to wake up all those lovely flavours, then transfer to a pestle and mortar with the chilli powder and 1 pinch of sea salt, then pound into a rough paste.
Tip into a large bowl with the yoghurt, lemon zest and juice, and the chicken thighs. Stir to coat evenly, then cover and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5.

Peel and finely dice the onions. Peel the potatoes, then chop into rough chunks, along with the tomatoes. Pick the coriander leaves and set aside, then finely chop the stalks.

Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a large, wide ovenproof pan over a medium heat, then add the cinnamon, cloves, cumin seeds and bay.

Add the chicken in a single layer and cook for 5 minutes on one side, or until a lovely, golden crust develops.

Stir in the ground spices, then add the onion, potatoes, tomatoes and coriander stalks. Turn the chicken over and cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes, or until browned all over.

Pour over 350ml of cold water, then bring to the boil.

Place in the hot oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, uncovered, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender, stirring occasionally.

Pick out and discard the cinnamon and cardamom pods, then divide between your plates. Finely slice and sprinkle over the chilli (if using), then tear the coriander leaves on top.

Serve with a dollop of yoghurt, coconut rice, naan breads and a fresh green salad, if you like.

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