I was invited to try out one of Dhruv's recipes for myself and I chose to try Dhruv's Perfect Chicken Curry, adapted to make it vegetarian of course, teamed with Tilda's Pure Basmati rice. Often referred to as the 'Prince of Rice', Basmati is the perfect accompaniment to a curry, with Star Anise being its ideal spice partnership.
The recipe involves roasting up some wonderful spices in a pan, including fennel seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks and star anise. The fragrance was just amazing! It is so much nicer than using a jar of sauce or using a ready made curry powder to make a curry. Using real ingredients feels so authentic and is well worth the effort.
The recipe makes enough curry paste for two curries, so half can be frozen and used for a future meal. The combination of tomato, onion, garlic, coconut and spices is a great base for a deliciously authentic curry.
The beauty of the recipe is its versatility. Whereas Dhruv's vision was of the perfect chicken curry, I went for a perfect Quorn, pea and spinach curry. I omitted the optional green chillies and I also added a splash of coconut cream to sweeten it up a little and make it more kid friendly. The result was absolutely delicious!
I served it with Tilda's Pure Basmati, which was the perfect rice to complement the dish, paired with the star anise in the spice mix.
The Pure Basmati is grown on the foothills of the Himalayas, and has a delicate fluffy texture, a fragrant aroma and good flavour. It is the most nutritious rice with high amino acid and nutritional content. It is naturally gluten free. I used a microwave pouch of steamed Pure Basmati rice for convenience.
Dhruv's Perfect Chicken Curry Recipe from tilda.com
75g desiccated coconut
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
3 whole dried red chillies
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp fennel seeds
3 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp salt
5 tbsp vegetable oil
3 red onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
6 tbsp fresh curry leaves
8 tomatoes finely chopped (or a tin of chopped tomatoes)
500g boneless, skinless chicken thighs or Quorn fillets cut into chunks
200ml water or stock
1 small bunch fresh coriander finely chopped
A squeeze of lemon
1 green chilli finely chopped (optional)
Toast the coconut in a pan over a low heat, stirring until it turns golden brown.
Set aside the coconut and into the same pan add the cinnamon sticks, dried chillies, peppercorns, star anise and fennel seeds. Roast in the pan for 3-4 minutes then add the ground coriander and chilli powder and stir for 1 minute. Add 100ml of water to form a paste and cook for 2 minutes.
Remove the cinnamon sticks, star anise and whole chillies and put aside for later. Add the toasted coconut, turmeric and salt to the pan.
Add everything to a spice grinder and grind to a smooth paste.
Heat the oil in the same pan and slowly cook the onions until they are soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a couple of minutes then add the curry leaves and cook for 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes and spice paste, return the cinnamon stick, star anise and chilli to the pan and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove half the mixture and freeze to use on another occasion.
Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes. Add 200ml chicken stock and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. (I used Quorn pieces and added a handful of peas and frozen spinach).
Remove the star anise, cinnamon and chilli, stir through the lemon juice and green chilli and scatter over fresh coriander.
The recipes and the Rice and Spice guide are available to download at http://www.tilda.com/.