For me, this is one of the enduring tastes of Karnataka. I never imagined I’d come across something so delicious served unadorned on a small plate as a pub snack – this recipe comes from Bangalore’s Windsor Pub.
- 1.2 kg chicken thigh fillets, cut into 4 cm chunks
- 90 g (⅓ cup) cashew paste (see Note) or cashew butter
- 2 large dried red chillies
- 2 tbsp shredded curry leaves (see Note), plus 2 tbsp fried curry leaves (see Note)
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 large dried red chilli, broken into small pieces
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste (see Note)
- 3 tomatoes, chopped
- 150 g thick natural yoghurt
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time 10 minutes
To make the marinade, combine all the ingredients and 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper in a bowl. Add chicken chunks, mixing to coat. Marinate for 10 minutes.
Tip the chicken and marinade into a large, non-stick frying pan. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 10 minutes. It should not be too wet – the marinade should have reduced and coated the chicken. Stir in the cashew paste, chillies, 1 tsp salt and shredded curry leaves, and cook for another few minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and serve sprinkled with the fried curry leaves.
• Cashew paste is made by blending raw cashews with an equal volume of water in a food processor to make a thick, smooth paste. It is used for thickening curries and gravies.
• Curry leaves are available from select greengrocers. To make fried curry leaves, heat some vegetable oil to 170°C and fry fresh curry leaves in small batches for 20 seconds until their colour darkens. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Store in an airtight container lined with paper towel for up to 2 days.
• Ginger and garlic paste is used in many Indian recipes. It is available in jars from Indian food shops. Alternatively, process 10 large roughly chopped garlic cloves and a roughly chopped 10 cm-piece ginger with a little water in a food processor to a smooth paste. Makes ⅓ cup.
Photography by Armelle Habib