Wendy's pickle fowl


My friend Wendy Chaves from Bombay sent me this recipe for a traditional East Indian curry called Pickle Fowl... not one I've ever come across before or could find in any of my old recipe books.  

It is a very elegant precursor to the more modern British tradition of cooking curries with dried fruits and nuts, and let me tell you, it is one of the most delicious curries I have ever tasted in my life.  It is hot, sweet and sour all at once, and full of fresh ingredients. 

I can't recommend it highly enough.. stop what you are doing and cook it immediately!

To make a substantial curry for 6-8 people you will need:

1 kilo of boneless chicken thighs 

5-6 tablespoons of oil

6 small onions, very finely chopped or roughly blended

10-12 dried red chillies

1 pod of garlic (around 10-12 cloves)

2 tablespoons of finely chopped ginger

1/4 cup of white wine vinegar

100 grams of raw cashew nuts

50 grams of 'kishmish' (raisins)

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

First blend the raisins and the cashews until you have a thick paste and set aside.  Next, blend the red chillies, garlic and ginger in the white wine vinegar to a paste and set this aside as well.

Heat the oil in a large pot and gently fry the onions until they have turned a light brown.  Add the chicken pieces and brown them too.  

Add the chilli, ginger and garlic paste, stir fry for a couple of minutes until the oil starts to separate, add a small amount of water and the salt and cover and simmer until the chicken is nearly done (around 15 minutes for boneless chicken thigh pieces).  

After this, stir in the raisin and cashew paste, turn up the heat slightly and fry until the sauce reduces slightly and you end up with a bright red, thick gravy.

We added a few whole toasted cashews to the curry at the end, and ate much more of it than we intended.  It was totally amazing!  

I think it would taste great with duck, or even prawns ... so watch out for the next version. 

Thank you Wendy!