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When I lived in Spain I learnt to cook authentic Indian curry. That’s right, curry. I lived with an American and an English-Indian girl and most Sundays we took it in turns to cook for around 10 other TEFL teachers in our tiny little flat in the suburbs of Madrid. And in a small way it felt just like being at home.

Curry is easier to make than most people think, once you know the basic spices you can play around a little and try out different combinations of spice or different bases – tomato, coconut milk, yogurt or cream – whatever you’re in the mood for.

I love to cook curry for groups of friends, because you can make a big pot and everyone can just help themselves to as little or as much as they like. Here is one of my favourites…

Coconut Chicken Curry
(feeds 4-5 hungry mouths)
What you’ll need…
Around 12 pieces of chicken – ideally a mixture of legs and thighs
Basmati rice
400ml coconut milk
Fresh coriander
2 cloves of garlic
2 chillies (leave some seeds in if you like it spicy, like me)
2cm of grated ginger
1tsp turmeric
2tsp ground cumin
½ tsp black peppercorns
50g butter
Bay leaves

1.) Firstly, pop the garlic, chopped chillies, turmeric, cumin, ginger, peppercorns and some fresh coriander into a bowl and use a hand-held blender to mix into a smooth paste. Alternatively use a food processor.

2.) Put the chicken into a dish and make sure it’s all nicely covered with the paste then pop in the fridge for two hours to soak in all those lovely flavours.

3.) Pop the oven on at 220C and, once heated, stick the chicken in to cook for around 45 minutes. Check occasionally and jiggle about the chicken to ensure it’s thoroughly cooked. For the last 10 minutes, put the chicken under a medium grill to get a nice golden finish.

4.) In the meantime, cook the basmati rice for 7 minutes, then drain. Add two bay leaves plus the butter – place a teacloth over the pot and leave to steam for 20 minutes.

5.) Check the chicken is completely cooked i.e. not pink in the middle, then serve up and garnish with a coriander sprig or two.

A nice, cold Indian Pale Ale straight from the fridge is the best accompaniment to this warming curry – dig in!

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