India is big – from north to south it would cover a distance equal to that from the icy fjords of Norway to the Sahara Desert. At least five major faiths are worshipped, and over 100 languages are spoken. So it’s not surprising that the food eaten across the country is just as diverse. What’s grown and eaten in the north of India can be quite different to the south. Chai’s North-South curry brings these different flavours together in a wonderfully tasty dish that’s great fun to make.
Curry: 10–15 minutes
Roti: 15 minutes (+ 30 minutes resting)
Curry: 45 minutes
Roti: 5 minutes
Large saucepan with a lid
Pestle and mortar (or you can use a food processor)
Rolling pin (for roti)
wholemeal flour (75g)
plain flour (75g)
pinch of salt
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
fresh ginger (30g), peeled and roughly chopped
2 tsp turmeric
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large white onion, peeled and finely chopped
8 chicken thighs (approx. 600g), (free range or organic if possible)skinless and boneless, cut in half
fresh tomatoes (600g), roughly chopped
a handful of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped basmati rice natural yoghurt
Mix both types of flour in a large bowl with a pinch of salt, then make a well in the centre. Slowly add the water to the well, mixing in the flour as you go. Stop adding water when the dough becomes slightly sticky. Transfer the dough to a clean, floured work surface, and knead it for 10 minutes until it becomes elastic in texture. Return it to the bowl, cover with a clean, damp tea towel and leave somewhere warm for 30 minutes.
Crush all the paste ingredients in a pestle and mortar until they are smooth and completely combined – be sure to have a sniff while you do it!
Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over a medium–low heat. Add the onion and sweat until they are soft but not brown (about 8–10 minutes), stirring regularly to prevent them sticking. Add the paste and continue stirring for a further 2–3 minutes.
Add the chicken to the pan and fry for 4–5 minutes, stirring continuously, until the meat is sealed (has turned white) all over. Mix in the tomatoes. Put the lid on the pan and turn the heat down low. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, divide the dough into four balls. On a clean, floured work surface roll out each ball into a small disc. They should be about 15cm in diameter and a few millimetres thick.
Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat until hot, then turn down to a medium heat. Add a roti to the pan and cook it until bubbles appear (about 20–25 seconds), before turning and cooking the other side in the same way. The roti should change colour, with darker patches where the bubbles touched the pan. Repeat with the other three roti.
By now the curry should be nearly ready. Taste and add a little salt if needed. Increase the heat to medium and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Garnish with a sprinkling of chopped fresh coriander leaves, and serve with boiled basmati rice and a dollop of natural yoghurt.
This recipe is taken from our book, Around the World with the Ingreedies – A Taste Adventure.