Mango and chicken curry

June 24th, 201110:09 am @


Mango and chicken curry.

When we lived in Bombay, mango season was an event – locals discussed the imminent arrival of the bright orange fruit like connoisseurs of fine wines. Dinner conversations revolved around the pros and cons of the numerous varieties, the correct time for consumption, which ones were best for cooking, etc.

When they finally did arrive, you couldn’t move in the shops for crates stuffed with the things. A guy near our place set up shop between two buildings to sell mangoes from his family farm. The walls and counter of the “shop” were crates of mangoes for sale, so as the season wore on the whole thing gradually disappeared. He told us he did this every season and made enough money for the entire year.

Normally, I’m not a huge fan of fruit in any dish bar dessert, and this recipe uses two of the things, but  they do work and the mango adds a rich lushness to the sauce. Again, if you can get your hands on coconut oil to cook the dish in then do so as it will really help lift the flavours. The dish is ridiculously simple to make and can be done the night before – in fact, I’d recommend doing that so you can marinate the meat.

The paste

  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 2 chillies (increase or decrease depending on preference)
  • 1-2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • vegetable oil (or coconut oil)

The main event

  • 500g chicken thighs with bones removed, cut into small pieces
  • 1 can coconut cream (400ml)
  • vegetable oil (or coconut)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 6 curry leaves (or bay leaves, just use fewer)
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 mango, peeled and cubed
  • Salt

Making the magic happen

  • If you’ve got a blender, then roughly chop the onions garlic, ginger and chillies and throw them in with all the other paste ingredients and whizz till you’ve got a, well, paste.
  • If you haven’t got a blender then either go get one or finely chop everything and mix the paste ingredients together. This will give the paste a little more texture, which is no bad thing (it also saves cleaning the blender, which is a pain in the rear) .
  • Mix a large splodge of coconut cream with a bit of the paste (keep most of it aside for later) and thoroughly cover the chicken pieces with it. Put in a non-metallic bowl and marinate for as long as possible – overnight if you can.
  • Heat your oil in a pan then throw in the  mustard seeds, curry/bay leaves and cardamom pods.
  • When the mustard seeds start to pop, pour in the remaining spice paste and add the cinnamon sticks.
  • Turn the heat down a bit and stir for a few minutes – until you start to see the oil and paste separate.
  • Take the pan off the heat, pour in the coconut cream and mix it well.
  • Return to the heat and slowly bring it back to a gentle boil then add the chicken and mango.
  • Leave it on a low heat for about 10 minutes or so. (Put the lid on if it looks like your sauce is reducing too much.)
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Eat while debating: Alphonso – the world’s best mango variety?
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