Before I met the mister, I made Indian curry the sum total of once.  It was a Martha recipe that she made with Madhur Jaffrey and it was simply lovely.  But basic.  I would describe it as sort of a Curry 101 … or maybe a Foundation Curry.  It gave me the basics about what kind of spices to use and the system of putting everything together. 

But, just as there are different types of pasta sauces, there are hundreds of different types of Indian curries, from the mild and creamy to the blow-the-top-of-your-head-off, with flavors varying depending on what region of India the recipe originates. 

This one won’t set your eyebrows on fire, but it definitely isn’t mild – if you’re a bit delicate, make sure you have some nice plain yogurt on the side!

Chettinad Chicken

  • Vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 20 peppercorns (I like a blend of black, green and white)
  • 2 red chillies, seeded and chopped
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 15-20 curry leaves
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 Tbsp Madras curry powder
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • cilantro, chopped for garnish

In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat then add all the spices, chili and onion – everything but the tomatoes, chicken and cilantro – and cook until the onions are softened.  Add the can of tomatoes, bring to the boil, then turn off the heat.  I like to do all this the night before so that all I have to do is throw the lot of it in the crock pot in the morning.  The thing I like the most about this dish is that you don’t need to brown the chicken, you just mix it with the sauce and go!  Anyway, put the lot of it in your crock pot and mix – if the chicken isn’t covered, then add enough water to make sure the thighs are submerged.  Cook on low 8-9 hours, then serve with rice or naan bread.