1 chicken (size 14) or use chicken thighs or drums on the bone
4 tablespoons ghee, coconut or vegetable oil
20 curry leaves, plus extra to serve
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
2 onions, chopped
4 cardamom pods, roughly crushed
3cm piece fresh turmeric, grated (or use ½ teaspoon dried turmeric)
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6cm piece ginger, grated
2 teaspoons garam masala
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons tamarind purée
750ml chicken stock or water
3 medium potatoes (approx 400g), peeled cut into 4cm dice.
¼ cup desiccated coconut
4 tablespoons ghee, coconut or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon urad dhal (black split lentils; optional)
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
2 dried red chillies
2 cloves garlic
2cm piece ginger, peeled and sliced
1 large handful of curry leaves
4 cups cooked basmati rice (approx 1½ cups raw rice if cooking from scratch)

This year I am determined to plant a curry leaf plant as the smoky, citrus flavour is one of my favourites. Fortunately, in the meantime, my local fruit shop sells them by the bagful. They do freeze well but I’d be inclined to use the whole bag for the curry leaf rice. Turmeric lattes have never been my thing, but I’m more than happy to use the rhizome in my cooking. It, too, freezes well (try grating it from frozen to cook with). Taro or kumara could replace the potato, but allow extra time for cooking taro which takes longer to become tender. Adjust the tamarind as you see fit – I like the curry on the sour side.


2.Remove and discard the backbone of the chicken then cut into large pieces with the bone in.
3.Heat 3 tablespoons of oil until hot, add the curry leaves, mustard, cumin and fenugreek seeds and cook for a minute.
4.Add the onion and cardamom and fry over a gentle heat until soft.
5.Add the turmeric, garlic and ginger and fry for a couple of minutes then add the garam masala and chilli flakes.
6.Add the chicken pieces, salt and tamarind purée and stir to combine.
7.Add the chicken stock or water, bring to a boil then lower the heat to a gentle simmer, add the potatoes and cook for 40 minutes or until the chicken is very tender.
8.Add extra water or stock if required and season to taste.
9.Fry the extra curry leaves in the remaining oil until crisp and use to garnish the curry.
11.Soak the coconut in ¼ cup water and set aside.
12.Heat half the oil in a pan and add the dhal if using.
13.Cook for a few minutes until golden. Add the cumin, fenugreek, chilli, garlic and ginger and fry for 30 seconds until fragrant then add the curry leaves and fry for another 20 seconds.
14.Remove from the pan and allow to cool.
15.Put the all the ingredients in a blender with the coconut and blitz to a smooth paste adding extra water if required.
16.Heat the remaining oil in a wide pan, add the curry leaf paste and fry for a few minutes.
17.Add the cooked rice and mix well, heating until the rice is cooked through.

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

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