My good friend Rene Tiemessen taught me to cook this Southern Indian curry in Thailand where we met after his extensive sailing cruise down the west coast of India.
7-8 large onions, finely chopped
2 heads of garlic, crushed and chopped
6” stem green ginger, finely and coarsely chopped, some and some.
6-10 green chillies,finely chopped seeds in.
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds (jeera)
⅓ pint (250ml) of sunflower oil
(Indian cooks will use ghee (clarified butter) but sunflower oil is a good lighter alternative)
1 or 2 chickens, skinned and sectioned bones in.
4-6 aubergines, sliced
⅓ pint plain yogurt
1 cup of garam masala (mixed ground spices), my recipe is below.
12 whole green cardamom pods
1 tablespoon whole pink pepper
4 dried bay leaves
1 lemon, quartered.
1 pint chicken stock, either fresh stock if you have it or 1-2 chicken stock cubes reconstituted in hot water.
3 tablespoons of cornflour.
Salt to taste
10 parts ground cumin seeds
10 parts ground coriander seeds
1 part ground cardamom
1 part cinnamon powder
1 part finely ground black pepper
½ part ground cloves
½ part ground allspice
½ part ground nutmeg
½ part ground mace
Kerala chefs will use turmeric powder but I always leave it out because it will stain everything it touches bright yellow. Not the best idea in a yacht you’re about to hand over to its owners!
Pour the oil into the deep cookpot and gently bring the oil to frying temperature. At the point when it’s heated fully, throw in the teaspoon of cumin seeds and fry for 1 minute.
Add all the onions to the pot and reduce the heat to gently fry in the onions, the onions need to be sweated down gently without browning them.
Add the garlic, ginger and chillies and fry in, gently stirring to stop the garlic sticking.
When the onions, garlic, ginger and chillies are all fried in, add the garam masala and fry it into a thick paste. Stir vigorously to stop the paste burning.
On a low heat, blend in the yogurt to the mixture, stirring continuously.
Add the chicken stock and stir in.
Add extra water to half fill the pot if necessary.
Add the aubergines and stir in.
Add the cardamom pods, the pink pepper seeds and the bay leaves.
Squeeze the juice from the lemon into the pot and add one quarter of the squeezed lemon to the pot.
Bring the pot to the boil then turn back to simmer and cook until the aubergines are almost cooked.
Now add the chicken and cook for approx 20 mins.
Mix the cornflour with a small amount of water and add the mixture to the pot whilst stir turning the chicken.