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Red Chicken Curry in a bowl HOPPERS: The Cookbook by Karan Gokani (Quadrille, £30) Photography: Ryan Wijayaratne
January 2023
Reading time 2 Minutes
This simple yet gorgeous curry is my go-to dish when introducing people to Sri Lankan food at the restaurant, in demos or cookery classes. It’s easy and approachable, yet tastes so different from any north Indian or south east Asian curry that you might first associate it with when reading through the ingredients.
  • 1kg bone-in chicken thighs or drumsticks, skin removed and cut into 8–10cm pieces (you can use boneless thighs if you prefer, but the curry won’t be as flavourful)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp + 2 tsp roasted curry powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 250g red onion (approx. 1 large onion), sliced
  • 9cm cinnamon stick
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 lemongrass sticks
  • 10cm piece pandan leaf
  • 12–15 curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 150g ripe tomato (approx. 1 large tomato), sliced
  • 150ml fresh chicken stock
  • 250ml coconut milk
  • 2 green chillies, halved lengthways (optional)

Combine the chicken with half teaspoon turmeric, two teaspoons roasted curry powder, held teaspoon salt and half teaspoon each ginger and garlic paste. Mix well and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least one hour, or overnight.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion along with half teaspoon salt and sauté until translucent. Add the remaining ginger and garlic paste and continue frying until the raw smell is no longer present. Stir in the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, lemongrass, pandan leaf and curry leaves. Add the chilli powder, remaining half teaspoon turmeric and remaining two tablespoons roasted curry powder. Fry for a further 30 seconds.

Stir in the tomato and cook over a medium heat, stirring often until it softens and turns pulpy. Add the chicken and stir well to ensure it’s coated in the spices, about three to four minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the chicken stock, mix everything well, cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and green chillies, if using, and reduce to a simmer for another five to seven minutes. Season with the remaining salt.

HOPPERS: The Cookbook by Karan Gokani (Quadrille, £30) Photography: Ryan Wijayaratne

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