Red chicken curry

Red chicken curry

This simple yet gorgeous curry is my go-to dish when introducing people to Sri Lankan food at the restaurant, in demos or cookery classes. It’s easy and approachable, yet tastes so different from any north Indian or southeast Asian curry that you might first associate it with when reading through the ingredients.
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  1. Step 1

    To make the roasted curry powder, first heat a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Roast the cardamom, cloves and cinnamon in the dry pan, stirring frequently for 2–3 minutes until fragrant but being careful not to burn them
  2. Step 2

    Add the rice and continue roasting for 12–14 minutes until nutty and light brown. Roast the remaining ingredients separately for 12–14 minutes, stirring constantly, until the leaves are dry and brittle
  3. Step 3

    Leave to cool completely before grinding to a fine powder in a blender or spice grinder. Pass through a strainer and grind any remaining large pieces. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 1 month
  4. Step 4

    Combine the chicken with ½ tsp turmeric, 2 tsp roasted curry powder, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp each ginger and garlic paste. Mix well and leave to marinate in thefridge for at least 1 hour, or overnight
  5. Step 5

    Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion along with ½ tsp salt and sauté until translucent. Add the remaining ginger and garlic paste and continue frying until the raw smell is no longer present. Stir in the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, lemongrass, pandan leaf and curry leaves. Add the chilli powder, remaining ½ tsp turmeric and 2 tbsp roasted curry powder. Fry for a further 30 seconds
  6. Step 6

    Stir in the tomato and cook over a medium heat, stirring often until it softens and turns pulpy. Add the chicken and stir well to ensure it’s coated in the spices, about 3–4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the chicken stock, mix everything well, cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes
  7. Step 7

    Add the coconut milk and green chillies, if using, and reduce to a simmer for another 5–7 minutes. Season with the remaining salt