Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sabieda's stunning chicken curry

Sabieda Jappie worked for us as a replacement housekeeper/childminder when our regular flew off to Venda for her annual leave. Sabieda is an amazing person. Full of energy. Full of opinions. Full of easy laughter. She plays rough with the kids - and they love it.

But she is also a wiz in the kitchen, and she taught us how to make this really good curry, amongst other things. Over the next while I will share some of her wonderful and authentic recipes. Sabieda is not shy with neither the oil, nor the salt - you can reduce or eliminate either.

I like to use a method of frying onions called Dry frying, adapted from a now rather old book called, The X diet cookbook (Zebra Press 1999) by Tabitha Hume. (Hume first makes a kind of stock made out of disolved dry chicken stock, mixed with a little white wine, but I find water works just as effectively with the method).

What you do is you cut up the onions, and start frying them on a moderately high heat in a saucepan - with no oil. You keep stirring them, to prevent sticking - and they start to turn an orangy, pinky brown. Keep stirring. Keep adding about 3 T water and stir the onions once or twice and then place the lid on the pot. Repeat this process with a little water each time (so that the effect is steam, not boiling) until the onions are the desired softness and brownness.

Sabieda's stunning Chicken Curry


3 T cooking oil (or use the dry frying method I have indicated above)
2 Onions – chopped finely
8 Chicken breasts - skinned and deboned and sliced into strips
1.5 T All-in-One (or 11 in one) Masala (more if you want it more than mild)
1 T garlic and ginger mix
.5 tin tomatoes
5 medium potatoes peeled and cut into quarters
Fresh Dhania, washed and chopped


Simmer chopped onions in the oil. Cover pot. Do not allow onions to stick to the bottom of the pot. Cook on a high heat, stirring occasionally, and adding water to ensure that the onions get very soft. They should turn light brown and be extremely soft at the end of this process.

Turn the heat down.

Add the Masala, garlic and ginger to the onions. Continue to simmer for a while. Add the chicken and tomatoes and mix well with the onion mixture.

Add salt and last potatoes and simmer with lid on, stirring occasionally, until cooked.

Sprinkle generously with chopped Dhania and allow it to stand for some time, before serving on Basmati rice.

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