1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1-2 medium onions, cut in thin slivers
4 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
1 inch of grated fresh ginger
2 green chilies, stems removed, broken into three pieces each
1 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast*, cut into 2 cm cubes
1 1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of turmeric
1 tsp of coriander powder
1 tsp of cumin
1/2 tsp of garam masala
3/4 tsp of chili powder
2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 tbsp of dried kasoori methi (optional)
1-2 tsp of granulated sugar
1/2 - 1 cup of water
2 tbsp of fresh coriander, coarsely chopped
*The dish in the picture was made with chicken breast but if you are a fan of dark meat, I strongly recommend you try it with boneless skinless leg and thigh, also cut in small cubes. Not only is it very flavourful, but you also lessen the risk of overcooking it as is the case with breast meat.
1) In a medium saucepan, fry onions in a generous amount of oil on medium heat. When they start to take on a golden-reddish colour, add the fresh garlic and ginger. Fry for another minute.
2) Add the green chilies, then slide the chicken cubes into the saucepan. Stir.
3) Add all of the spices and stir. Cook until chicken is no longer pink.
4) Add the tomatoes and kasoori methi (if using), stir, then cover. Reduce heat and cook for 10-15 minutes.
There is no need to add water. As it cooks, the chicken will release moisture and stew in its own juices.
The water must reduce until the oil starts separating itself from the sauce. If you are finding this is taking too long and that the chicken is getting overdone, increase the heat to make the water evaporate more quickly.
Ideally, you want to time it so that the chicken is just done when the water has
completely evaporated. Otherwise you will end up with dry, chalky chicken, and
no one wants that, right?
The reason you want the oil to separate is so that onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, and all medley of spices blend together in a homogenized paste. No lone tomato chunk floating here or there. That way, you will get intense flavour with every bite. No one objects to that I suppose?
To tell if the oil has separated, take your stirring spoon (wooden or otherwise) and draw a line across the bottom of the saucepan. You should see a trail of oil coating the pan. You should also notice a rim of oil forming around the edges of the sauce.
5) Add sugar as well as water to desired consistency, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for a couple minutes more.
6) Turn off the heat, sprinkle chopped coriander, and pat yourself on the back. You just made your first curry. :)
Serve with fresh naan or basmati rice.