National Curry Week,
Kukhra Alainchi Sanga
~ Chicken Cardamom Curry ~
I have a great deal of admiration for the Gurkhas, as well as many happy memories of them. I went to school with several Gurkha children when I lived in Hong Kong during the 60’s and 70’s – they were my close friends in the playground as well as out of school. I was also lucky enough to be invited to their homes for superb Nepalese food, of which one dish was this delicious Chicken Cardamom. This is the way Chicken Cardamom is traditionally cooked, it is not difficult to make and does not take very long either. Cooking it to this recipe will produce a totally authentic dish that will appeal to a wide range of palates and makes a change from the usual Indian style curries. Serve this curry with rice, a selection of “sambals” and naan bread for a superb Nepalese feast.
This is not a fire breathing curry, it is warm, creamy and subtle with the musky, aromatic undertones of the cardamom. The fennel seeds also add a “cooling” feel to the curry and aid digestion. My preference is a long glass of chilled beer or lager to accompany this meal, but you can also offer a jug of water with lemon slices and ice cubes for those thirsty diners who don’t “do” alcohol. This recipe will make enough for eight good sized portions; however, you can cut the quantities back by half for a normal family meal ~ but keep the cooking times the same ~ and if you do scale down the quantities just keep an eye on the dish that it does not burn and keep topping up the liquid if necessary.
Historical Note: The Gurkhas
who take their name from the 8th century Hindu warrior-saint Guru Gorakhnath,are mainly known to us in the UK as soldiers that have loyally served in the British Army for many years. They come from the Himalayas in Nepal and are feared all over the world as true warriors and extremely well disciplined soldiers. The first Gurkhas were fighting men from the mountain kingdom of Nepal — Rai, Magar, Limbu, Gurung and Sunwar tribesmen, their loyalty to Great Britain over the years is exemplary and extremely humbling.
I hope you enjoy this curry as much as I have done over the years; try to make a curry this week to celebrate National Curry Week or, treat yourself to a take away if you don’t have time to make one, although it doesn’t take that long to make this recipe……
(I found this recipe on the Hidden England website several years ago and I have enjoyed it many times since discovering it, as it is the most authentic recipe I have found to date, short of travelling to Nepal or enjoying a curry at Johnny Gurkha’s restaurant in Aldershot, Hampshire.)
Gurkha Chicken Cardamom Curry
(Kukhra Alainchi Sanga)
- 2kg chicken meat, chopped into small pieces (or goat meat)
- 200g onions, peeled and diced
- 250ml natural yoghurt
- 50ml vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom seeds
- 25g ginger root ( chopped, NOT powdered)
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 cinnamon sticks
- 2 cloves
- 350ml cold water
Peel and chop the onions, garlic and ginger into small pieces.
Make a masala from the yoghurt, cardamom, chopped ginger, chopped garlic, fennel and cayenne by grinding the mixture into a smooth paste.
Sprinkle the meat with a little salt, then pour over the masala mixture, and allow to marinade for at least an hour.
Heat the oil, in a large pan, until a slight blue haze can bee seen. Add the cinnamon (chopped/ground into fine pieces), the cloves and the onion pieces. Cook until the onion is golden brown.
Add the marinaded chicken pieces to the pan which should still have the onions, cloves and cinnamon, making sure that you get as much of the marinade in the pan as possible.
Put it back on the heat. Without stirring the mixture, you should see oil slowly rising to the surface. At this stage CAREFULLY add the cold water and bring the mixture back to the boil.
Cover the pan and simmer over a low heat until the chicken is cooked and tender. Stir occasionally.
Serve the chicken meat on a bed of rice and pour over the masala that is left behind in the pan.
The rice can be either plain, pilau or saffron. On the table offer small serving bowls of sambals such as chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumbers and chutney. This allows your diners to add the hot/cold selections from the bowls as they wish. This is also wonderful when served with naan bread.
That’s all for today, see you later,