Cakes, desserts and cookies are the requests I commonly get from my readers but lately there has been a pressing demand for main dishes especially from those studying or settled abroad. Absence makes the heart grow fonder; I guess there can be no better situation to illustrate the old adage. Staying away from home and your near & dear ones does make you homesick after a while. It’s only then that you really miss your mum’s carri masala and faratawishing that you had asked her for the recipe before leaving.

The secret of a good carri poule lies in its two key ingredients – the épice masala/curry powder and the carri poulé leaves. I do not know how easy it is for you to find these abroad but try getting help from your local asian grocery store. If you still do not get lucky, you should find some good brands of curry powder online or maybe get a friend to bring it for you if he’s coming over. As for the carri poulé , I suggest that you try growing it in your backyard [like me!] so that you have fresh leaves to add to your curries anytime.

While the cooking method may vary from home to home, it eventually boils down to that same unique taste that we all recognise as ‘homemade’. Probably the very thing one of my dear friends from Bordeaux has been craving after he got fed up of la gastronomie française. I do hope that this helps to make up for all that he’s been missing so far. Cheers!

CHICKEN MASALA CURRY/ CARRI POULE MASALA

Ingredients:

2 lbs chicken breasts or thighs

1 tbs vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 large tomatoes, chopped

1 fresh green chili, slit open

2 tsp crushed garlic

1 tsp crushed ginger

10 carri poulé leaves

4-5 tbs curry powder

1 1/2 tsp salt, to taste

2 medium potatoes, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces

1 small cauliflower head, optional

1 small can peas, drained, optional

1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

1 1/2 – 2 cups chicken stock or water

Method:

  • Clean chicken and remove skin and extra fat but do not debone. Heat 2 tsp oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat.

  • Add cleaned chicken pieces and cover. Cook over medium heat until lightly browned but still tender and juicy, for about 15-20 min.

  • Boil potatoes in a large pan of water. Drain well when done. Separate cauliflower head into florets and blanch in boiling water.

  • In large saucepan, add remaining oil and heat until it smokes. Lower heat and add onion. Cook until golden and slightly translucent.

  • Add crushed ginger and garlic, curry powder, curry leaves, chilli and tomatoes. Cook sauce for 1 min until aromatic. Stir regularly.

  • Add chicken and cook for 2 min, then stir in water or chicken stock. Season with salt. Reduce heat to medium-low.

  • Add boiled potatoes, cauliflower and peas. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until sauce thickens to your liking.

  • Sprinkle freshly chopped cilantro over. Serve warm with plain white rice or farata. For 4-6 persons.

Mama so Carri Poule Masala.. mmMmm.. Sa Ki Bon Sa!

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