Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Hit the spice shop.

I never met a spice I didn't like, and I especially enjoy throwing as many in one dish as possible. The following recipe is the most tantalisingly fragrant dish I have ever cooked and always results in people (family members, guests, passing neighbours, small children, etc) demanding some, even if they profess to dislike curry. All the spices are freely available along the Sydney Road Little India strip.

Fragrant curried chicken breast.

In a food processor, blitz four cloves of garlic, a large peeled knob of ginger, five whole dried red chillies, an inch of cinnamon (or a teaspoon of powdered), five cardamom pods, five cloves, a teaspoon each of black peppercorns and cumin seeds, and half a cup of vinegar until it resembles a relatively smooth paste.

Meanwhile, fry two finely chopped onions in ghee or oil or some of each until soft. Then add a can of diced tomatoes and a teaspoon of salt. Cook a few minutes, stirring. Add the paste and a teaspoon of sugar. Saute a few minutes. Add two chicken breasts diced into one-inch cubes, and a few fresh curry leaves.

Serve with naan bread, yogurt, and fresh pappadums for a little crunch on the side. Drink: beer. This is hot. Up- or downscale the chillies as preferred.

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