There’s a boy I know, who plays music, and has adventures, and his name is Harry Harris. He is a nice boy; the kind of nice boy that tells you funny stories when you’re sad, and writes poems about crows, and has a house full of books and guitars, and the adventures he has are the funniest, happiest kind. Once Harry Harris fell asleep on a night bus, snuggled up to a Scottish tramp; and once Harry Harris found himself dancing in a heavy metal bar with a lady with a baby called Sunshine; and once- only once- Harry Harris got a bit fighty outside a pub, over a girl. That was the first time I met Harry Harris, and the first time I made this curry, or any curry.
This is the terribly inauthentic curry I learned to make curries from; this is the most forgiving, friendly curry in the world. This is a curry that makes it all okay. It will steam up your windows and cook all by itself while you sit around with some wine, and then you can feed the five thousand. This is a curry for a good day. This is a curry for friends, and wine, and music.
This is a curry, in short, for the infamous Harry Harris, with infinite affection and gratitude. This is a curry for Harry Harris, who got the girl; this is a curry made completely of love. This is a good day curry.
Serves 6-8, with comfortable second helpings and some cold for hungover breakfast.
20 minutes tops to prepare, and then an hour or so to cook.
Gluten free; lactose free. SW-friendly.
|2kg chicken thighs + drumsticks
Knob of fresh ginger (thumb sized, probably, if you have smallish thumbs.)
4-8 garlic cloves (I use 8-12, because I’m a monster, and I have a cheap supply.)
2 cans tomatoes
1 pint chicken stock
Oil, (or FryLight, which I don’t like, much, but it is useful, if making things SW-friendly is important to people you’re cooking for.)
|Knives; chopping boards; Big pot, with lid. (I use the wok. Because I use the wok for everything.)|
If you have time on your hands, and you’re feeling alright, skin and de-fat the chicken, and rub it with a bit of chilli, paprika, salt and pepper, and leave it for a while. It does make a difference, but not so much that it’s really necessary. If you haven’t got time, just skin it, because otherwise you’ll have odd flabby skin in your curry. Nobody needs odd flabby skin.
Next, assemble your onions, your garlic, your ginger, your spices, your tired, your poor, your huddled masses. Dice the onions, grate the ginger, and chop the garlic finely. You’ll have about 2 tsps of ginger, probably, ish. Fry the onions off in the wok. Low heat. Add the ginger and the garlic. Add some hefty shakes of chilli powder, paprika and cumin. Add some cloves. Add some bashed-about cardamom pods. Sometimes I put ground fennel or coriander, too. You can, if you want. It’s good.
Now add the chicken, to brown a little. I usually do this in two batches, because 2kg of chicken is a lot of chicken. The longer you can let it brown, the better. This gives you time to breathe, and sit down.
Add two tins of tomatoes, bashed about a bit, and a pint of stock. Lid. Done.
Take the wine; gather friends. Sit on the sofa, getting progressively happier, and warmer, and drunker. If you’ve got a Harry Harris, make him sing you a song or two (best to do this bit now, just in case he gets fighty later).
At some point, about an hour later, when the chicken looks falling-aparty, take the lid off, let it reduce until thick and saucy. You could make some rice, too, if you wanted: I do mine in a frying pan, covered with the wok lid. For six people, I do one and a half American-cups of rice, well-oiled; add three American-cups of turmeric boiling water, cover, and leave on a low heat until the water has been all absorbed, and the rice is yellow and soft and pliable. About eighteen minutes, I think.
Give everyone a bowl. Give everyone a spoon. Sit down. Feel calm. Feel loved. Eat. Eat. Eat.
You can buy Harry’s album here; it’s really, really good.