Dinners at my parents’ house were always eaten at the table, but often, half an hour beforehand, extra settings were hurriedly assembled. They were foster carers, and unexpected new arrivals meant meals were usually prepared in bulk – if no extras were needed, the leftovers made a welcome lunch the next day. One of my fondest memories is of my father presenting us with an exact replica of a chicken curry from the local Chinese restaurant, complete with mustard yellow sauce and studded with green peas. This is a tribute to his take on theirs – although I add garlic to mine, which he can’t stand. Sorry, Dad.
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, sliced
2cm piece of ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
4 fat cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
2 tsp flour
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin (seeds or ground)
1 tsp ground coriander
500ml chicken stock
300g chicken thighs and drumsticks
100g frozen peas
Gently heat half the oil in a medium pan. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli (discard the seeds if you don’t like too much heat). Season and cook over a low, slow heat for a few minutes. Add the flour and spices, and stir well.
When the onion is coated in the flour and spices, add a splash of stock and stir well to form a rough paste. Add a splash more stock to thin.
Remove from the heat and blitz to a paste in a blender or food processor. Return to the heat and continue to add the stock, stirring vigorously to prevent lumps. Set to one side.
Add the rest of the oil to a new pan and cook the chicken on a high heat, turning it to seal the edges. Pour over the sauce, bring to the boil, cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, until it has thickened and the chicken is cooked through. Stir occasionally, and add more water if needed. Add the peas a few minutes before serving.