Long ago, I used to frequent an Indian food stall operating outside a coffee shop. The stall was run by an Indian lady (whom I call auntie) and her dry chicken curry was my favorite dish. Her dhall curry was also fantastic and I told her how much I loved it. She was very pleased and told me that I could come over anytime and take her dhall curry for free! That was very generous of her but of course I did not take on her kind offer.
Auntie also served dry mutton curry which I also loved a lot but somehow I would always be drawn to her dry chicken curry. My standard package would be the dry chicken curry, dhall, two vegetables and a piece of spicy beancurd. Auntie charged me RM5.00 and I think her price is very reasonable.
Then one day auntie told me that she was closing her stall on a Thursday because she was going for an operation to remove a varicose vein. I wished her well and told her that she would need lots of rest after the operation. I would have to wait for her to come back to enjoy her dry chicken curry.
The following Monday, I walked to the coffee shop to buy lunch. I was surprised to see auntie sitting at her stall with her leg bandaged. She was in no shape to run her stall but there she was. I conveyed my concern to her but she said she was fine. Tough lady, I thought. She couldn't move much and her customers had to serve themselves.
The next day, I went back again hoping to eat more curry. Auntie wasn't there but there were two young ladies running the stall. The food was not ready yet and I got my lunch from elsewhere. The next day, I tried my luck again. The two young ladies were there but the food was different. And there were just a few dishes. I gave up. Sad to say, auntie never came back. Her spot is now taken by a young man serving western food. Auntie, wherever you are, I hope that you are well and happy. I miss your dry chicken curry and dhall. Sobbsss!!!!
So now, with auntie's yummy dry chicken curry at the back of my mind, I attempted this Chilli Chicken recipe. Though this curry is not the same as auntie's it is nevertheless very tasty. God bless you auntie for the inspiration!
Chilli Chicken Fry
Recipe source : Banana Leaf Temptations (page 48)
(My notes and adaptations in red)
- 1 chicken, cut into pieces
- 10 tbsp oil
- 2 sticks cinnamon (I used one 2.5" stick)
- 8 cardamoms
- 8 cloves
- 2 tsp aniseed
- 2 onions, sliced
- a sprig of curry leaves
-30 dried chillies, soaked in hot )
water for 10 minutes )
(I used 3 tbsp chilli paste) ) blend or
- 2 tbsp vinegar ) pound
- 200g shallots (I used 200g big onions) )
- 5 cloves garlic )
- 30g ginger )
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
-50ml water (I omitted because the chicken bled water)
- enough salt
1. Heat oil. Fry the cinnamon, cardamoms and cloves until fragrant. Add in the aniseed.
2. When aniseed is slightly browned, add sliced onionsand curry leaves. Saute till onions turn transparent.
3. Add in the ground chili paste. Saute till almost dry.
4. Add in the chicken pieces, tomato paste, salt and the water. Mix well.
5. Cook covered, stirring occasionally until the dish is dry and chicken is cooked.