This recipe has the heat of the equator, the tang of the tropics, and the sweetness of the islands; all of which is academic - we ate the meal on a cold autumn night in Melbourne with rain pelting on the iron roof.
I evolved the recipe from an old balchao dish I used to make. The original recipe was as hot as you like; later versions toned down the chili, added spices, added coconut, added lime.
Let's get started: fry two onions in ghee. Remove and retain onions.
Brown one kilogram of chicken pieces in the pan. Add oil or ghee as required. Remove chicken when browned.
Meanwhile, process half a cup of roasted cashews (I dry-roasted raw cashews first), half a cup of dessicated coconut, two large and very ripe and juicy vine tomatoes, two tablespoons or slightly more of malt vinegar, one black cardamom pod, one twinkle of star anise, a scatter of dried chilies, half a teaspoon each of crushed cinnamon and cumin seeds, four cloves of garlic, an inch of peeled ginger and one small lime - whole. The fluid in the tomatoes and lime should be enough to enable effective processing; if not add a little water.
The resulting texture will be a rough sludge. Place this back into the pan, add half a cup or more of water, and simmer ten minutes. Then add the chicken, and stir through half a cup of sour cream or yogurt, a generous tablespoon of fenugreek powder, and a teaspoon each of salt and sugar. Place lid on pan and cook at least thirty minutes on a very low simmer.
Serve with cooked onions on top and basmati rice and pappadums on the side; and think of the islands, although it could be raining there too for all I know.
The processed cashew, tomato and coconut mixture works well as a marinade for barbecue: use bone-in chicken, score the flesh and press in the mixture. Delicious. Not barbecue weather here any more, more's the pity.