When I met Christine Manfield the other day I gave her the impossible task of picking one recipe out of her stunning new book Tasting India. This was the one she chose. It comes from the southern state of Karnataka, the former state of Mysore and is typical of the surprising straightforwardness of the recipes in the book.
Andhra Curry-leaf Chicken
For me, this is one of the enduring tastes of Karnataka. I never imagined I would come across something so completely delicious served unadorned on a small plate as a pub snack – this recipe comes from Bangalore’s Windsor Pub.
1.2 kg chicken thigh fillets, cut into 4 cm chunks
4 tablespoons cashew paste*
2 large dried red chillies
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons shredded curry leaves
2 tablespoons fried curry leaves **
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 large dried red chilli, broken into small pieces
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste ***
3 tomatoes, chopped
150g thick plain yoghurt
To make the marinade, combine all the ingredients. Add the chicken and mix to coat. Marinate for 10 minutes.
Tip the chicken and its marinade into a large frying pan and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 10 minutes. It should not be too wet?–?the marinade should have reduced and coated the chicken. Add the cashew paste, chillies, salt and shredded curry leaves and stir. Cook for another few minutes. Remove from the heat and sprinkle over the fried curry leaves to serve.
* To make the cashew paste blend raw cashews with an equal volume of water in a food processor to make a thick paste
** To fry curry leaves heat some vegetable oil to 170°C and fry fresh curry leaves in small batches for 20 seconds until their colour darkens. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Store in an airtight container
*** To make Garlic Ginger Paste blend 10 large roughly chopped garlic cloves in a food processor with a roughly chopped 8-10cm piece of ginger (equivalent to 3 tbsp chopped ginger) and a little water or pound with a mortar and pestle until you have a smooth paste
Tasting India by Christine Manfield is published by Conran Octopus at £40
What to drink: I haven't yet made this but can tell it's going to be quite hot and spicy, a challenging dish to pair with wine. I think I'd probably go for a strong dry(ish) ros from Portugal or Chile. A lager would also be an option but I'm not sure that I don't fancy one of the delicious non-alcoholic drinks that Christine has in the book such as Ginger Lime Soda which is made like a mojito with ginger. Or just a straight mojito, come to that.