Another night of lockdown, another chicken curry
Proprietor of local Indian restaurant is sleeping soundly
The second instalment of DFM (defrosting food management) sees this highly imaginative curry, made using thawed-out chicken breasts.
This started as a bhuna, using a recipe I found on the BBC Good Food site. But I looked at three other on-line bhuna recipes, and they were all completely different, which reinforces my view that authenticity in cooking is a nonsensical idea. These things that we imagine are crucial to various nations’ identities are really just broad categories of food, like ‘pie’. There isn’t even a consensus on the English spelling of bhuna/buna/boona/boohna.
It’s a Hindi word, if I remember rightly, and I believe describes the process of cooking spice pastes in hot oil, to remove the harshness from them. Beyond that, then, anything goes. But in the world of British Indian restaurant curries, bhuna means onions, tomatoes, and chillies.
And that’s how it went, with the addition of some spices, ginger, garlic, blah blah blah. But then I decided, a bit like one of those berks who buys a Lotus Elise and then messes with the suspension, that I knew better. I have all evening for this, I’m only a man, I’m slightly bored, and I have a box of spices. I also tried one of the saucepans on my head.
So I fortified a few spoonfuls of yoghurt with fenugreek and chilli powder, and stirred that in. I also bunged in a crushed black cardamom pod, because it was there. I slow cooked the lot while I enjoyed a bottle of Chablis in the sunshine, then made simple basmati rice.
I don’t want to blow smoked paprika up my own ass but it was pretty bloody good. The recipe said ‘serves four’, but that turned out to be nonsense as well.
(Please note that this recipe will not be in my forthcoming book)