The definition of jalfrezi is very broad. It has been described as a combination of Indian, Pakistani and Chinese cooking. I get the former two, but I can’t really see where the Chinese influence comes in. The meat, generally chicken, is ever so briefly marinated in some curry powder. All the ingredients are then simply thrown into the pot. This is a gentle curry and would be a good one to introduce young children or curry novices to Indian flavours.
6 boneless, skinless chicken thigh fillets, each cut into 3-4 pieces
4 tablespoons madras curry powder
2 red onions, cut into wedges
1 red capsicum (pepper), cut into strips
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
400g tin crushed tomatoes
260g (1 cup) plain yoghurt
50g (1 cup) chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
1. Put the chicken in a bowl and add the curry powder. Use your hands to rub the powder all over each piece of chicken.
2. Set aside for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to develop, or cover and refrigerate for 3-6 hours (remove the chicken from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking).
3. Heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the butter starts to sizzle, add the onions and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until softened.
4. Add the capsicum, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for a further 4-5 minutes, until all the vegetables have softened.
5. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and stir-fry for 8-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked evenly all over and the spices are aromatic.
6. Stir in the tomatoes, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any bits that are stuck.
7. Add 2 tablespoons of the yoghurt and stir until the yoghurt is fully incorporated into the sauce. Return to the boil, stir in 2 more tablespoons of yoghurt and repeat until all the yoghurt has been used.
8. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Stir in the coriander. Serve with steamed basmati rice.
For an indulgent and rich version of this curry, use 16 large, peeled and deveined raw prawns (shrimp) instead of the chicken. Replace the yoghurt with 250 ml (1 cup) thick (double/heavy) cream.
This is an edited extract from Tuck In: Good Hearty Food Any Time by Ross Dobson, Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99.
Photo credit: Steve Brown