A full flavored masala is the key to a well seasoned and delish chicken curry. When referring to full flavor, it's about incorporating extra spices and a natural thickening agent. Kas-kas or poppy seeds can be used as a thickening agent but almonds are better, being a natural thickening agent, to infuse the creamy taste. Of course we can't forget curry leaves. Most of us are comfortable with adding in curry leaves while curry is simmering or at the end of the cooking process. If you like a powerful scent of curry leaves, blend/ground the leaves with the spices. I blended coriander and cumin seeds, red chili powder, almond and curry leaves together and that’s precisely what a full flavored masala is all about.
The masala has to be slow fried over low heat to remove the raw smell of the masala ingredients, indicated when oil splits. Keep an eye on the masala by stirring continuously to avoid it from being burned, probably for 15 mins or so. If you can multi-skill, get ready the rest of the ingredients while watching the masala. I do that to cut short the time I remain in my kitchen because I sweat profusely while cooking, the cause of the hot burning climate over here.
All in all, the tender and moist chicken pieces plus potatoes are coated with a thick aromatic curry, lifted by the combination of spices and curry leaves. I can proudly say that this masala chicken curry can appear on the menu of any Indian fine dining restaurants.
For the curry paste
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp plain chili powder (or as needed)
50g almonds without skin
4 sprigs curry leaves
** blend/ground to a thick paste
1/2 chicken (about 450g) - cut into bite sizes
3 potatoes - cut into medium size pieces
1 large red onion - cut into rings
2 medium size tomatoes - sliced
Spices - 2 sticks cinnamon, 2 star anize, 5 cardamom and 4 cloves.
1/2 cup oil
Salt for taste
When oil is heated, fry spices for 1 min.
Add curry paste and fry while stirring until oil splits.
Add chicken, potatoes, tomatoes and salt for taste.
Pour enough water to submerge the ingredients.
For more gravy, add more water.
Stir to combine all ingredients.
Continue to cook till chicken and potatoes are soft and tender.
Remove from heat.