Spicy but not pungent, this chicken curry may be served with boiled rice, poppadums and chutneys.
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cardamom pods
4 whole peppercorns
2 oz. butter
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2-inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 medium-sized onions, finely chopped
1 X 4 lb. chicken, cut into serving pieces
11. oz. yogurt
1 teaspoon hot chilli powder
1 teaspoon salt . thick coconut milk
3 tablespoons ground almonds
Place the cinnamon, cardamom, pepper-corns and cloves in the jar of an electric blender. Blend at high speed until the spices are ground into a powder. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam sub-sides, add the spice powder and fry, stir-ring constantly, for 1 minute.
Add the garlic, ginger and onions and fry, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 min-utes or until the onions are golden brown.
Add the chicken pieces and fry, turning them frequently, for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, combine the yogurt with the chilli powder, salt, saffron and the soaking water. Using a fork, beat the mixture well. Pour the yogurt mixture into the pan and stir well to mix. When the mixture comes to the boil, cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Stir in the coconut milk and the ground almonds. Raise the heat to high and bring the liquid to the boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer the curry, covered, for 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender and the sauce has thickened. If the sauce is too thin, remove the chicken pieces from the pan and set them aside on a plate. Increase the heat to moderately high and boil the curry sauce for 10 to 15 minutes or until the sauce has reduced slightly and is thick.
Taste the curry, add more salt if necessary, and add the chicken pieces.
Spoon the curry into a warmed, deep serving dish and serve immediately.