1 cup thick Greek-style yoghurt
3 cloves garlic, minced
2cm-piece ginger, finely grated
1½cm-piece fresh turmeric, finely grated or 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder (if unable to source try using ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika and ¼ teaspoon chilli flakes)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon salt
8 pieces bone-in chicken thighs or drums, or you could use boneless, skinless thighs or even wing nibbles
1 tablespoon ghee, vegetable or coconut oil
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
a good sprig or two curry leaves
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2cm-piece ginger, finely grated
1½cm-piece turmeric, finely grated (or 1 teaspoon turmeric powder)
1 x 400g can coconut milk
250ml chicken or vegetable stock
½ teaspoon salt
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons ghee, vegetable or coconut oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1-2 sprigs curry leaves
4 corn cobs, husks and silks removed
gun powder spice to sprinkle or to add into hot oil (I used Homeland’s spice mix)
roti or rice

There is something so optimistic and cheering about the bright yellowness of turmeric. Its earthy flavour and ever so slight bitter edge help to ground a dish. I use fresh when I have it, powder when not. A rough rule of thumb is that a fresh 1½cm piece equals 1 teaspoon powder (powder is more concentrated than fresh). I like it best when paired with an ingredient such as coconut milk which mellows its harshness and brings its brightness to the fore.

This South Indian-inspired coconut sauce is mellow without a lot of heat, but you could add more chilli to the base if you prefer. At Peter Gordon’s Homeland, head chef Nagaraju Sunkara makes his own version of the lentil and spice gun powder mix which is also known as milagai podi (Naga’s Gun Powder, available from As the name suggests, it has quite the kick. You could put some of this into the hot oil for the tarka or the base of the sauce, but I like to use it to sprinkle over the dish at the end, which gives the dish a lovely warming flavour bomb.

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2.Combine the yoghurt, garlic, ginger, turmeric, chilli powder, cumin and garam masala with the lemon zest, juice and salt in a large bowl and mix well.
3.Add the chicken, stir to coat, cover and refrigerate overnight.
5.In a saucepan, heat the oil and add the black mustard, cumin and fenugreek seeds and the curry leaves.
6.Fry until fragrant and the seeds start to pop, around 30 seconds.
7. Add the onion and cook until soft.
8.Add the garlic, ginger and turmeric and cook for 2-3 minutes.
9.Add the coconut milk, chicken or vegetable stock and salt and bring up to a simmer.
10.Cook gently for 15 minutes until slightly reduced.
11.Set aside until required.
12.Add the lemon juice just before serving.
14.For the tarka, heat the oil in a frying pan, add the black mustard, cumin and curry leaves and cook until fragrant.
16.Heat a barbecue to a medium-low heat and grill the chicken pieces, turning occasionally until cooked through, approximately 25-30 minutes.
17.Watch them carefully as they can burn easily.
18.After 10 minutes add the corn and cook, turning occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until tender.
19.Cut the corn into 3-4 pieces each, put onto a platter with the chicken pieces and spoon over some of the coconut sauce.
20.Spoon over the freshly made hot tarka.
21.Sprinkle with the gun powder spice, if using.
22.Serve with rice or roti and a side of greens.
24.Use 400g paneer, cut into slices in place of the chicken.
26.Use 400g firm tofu, cut into slices in place of the chicken; use oil instead of ghee, and coconut yoghurt.

Recipes & food styling Ginny Grant / Photography Aaron McLean/ Styling Jessica Hemmings