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Whizz the ginger and garlic with a little water in a mini blender to make a smooth, fine paste. Set aside.
Put the black cardamom pods in a mortar, bash with the pestle, then remove the husks to leave only the seeds. Add the cloves and cinnamon, then grind to a powder.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan or shallow hob-safe casserole. Add the bay leaf and onion and cook until brown – about 8-10 minutes. Add the green chillies and ginger/garlic paste, then cook until just golden – 2-4 minutes.
Add the chicken and brown gently over a moderate heat. Add the spices and a pinch of salt, then stir. Add the tomatoes and enough water to come 2.5cm up the pan. Bring to the boil, then cover and cook over a low heat for 15 minutes.
Uncover the pan, increase the heat to high and brown the masala sauce for about 10 minutes (see tip). This will add a lot of depth to the flavour. Toss and turn the chicken. Reduce the sauce until it’s more of a paste, similar to the consistency of passata, then lower the heat and continue to cook for another few minutes. The masala paste should release some droplets of oil – at this point, add enough hot water to come more than halfway up the chicken joints, then bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, add the coriander and serve with chapatis or rotis and steamed rice.