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Manju’s Coconut and Vanilla Chicken Curry

Manju’s Coconut and Vanilla Chicken Curry

I spent an afternoon at Littlepod HQ where my good friend Janet Sawyer taught me how to make eggless scones while I showed her how to use vanilla with coconut in this aromatic curry.

bar Manju’s Coconut and Vanilla Chicken Curry
Vanilla by Janet Sawyer, photography by Steve Painter is published by Ryland Peters & Small rrp£16.99 www.rylandpeters.com

Picture by Steve Painter

Serves 4

2 tbsp vegetable or rapeseed oil
1.5kg chicken pieces, at room temperature
1 medium onion, finely chopped
150ml chicken stock
1 tsp LittlePod vanilla paste, or 1 vanilla pod (seeds only)
75ml coconut milk
125g roasted cashew nuts, roughly chopped
coriander, chopped, to garnish
basmati rice, to serve

For the Aromatic Sauce Mix:
4 black peppercorns
4 cloves
1 star anise
1⁄2 tsp fennel seeds
3 dried red chillies
3 green cardamom pods
1⁄2 tsp poppy seeds
1 cinnamon stick
1⁄4 tsp ground turmeric


To make the aromatic sauce, heat a heavy-bottomed frying pan and add the peppercorns, cloves, star anise, fennel seeds, red chillies, cardamom, poppy seeds and cinnamon. Roast for 1 minute and then, adding the turmeric, grind to a powder either in a mill or a mortar and pestle.

Heat the vegetable or rapeseed oil in a frying pan and lightly brown the chicken pieces over a medium heat for 4–5 minutes. Set the chicken to one side, keeping warm. Then, add the onions to the pan and cook through until translucent but not coloured. Add a teaspoon of the aromatic sauce mix, stir well (reserve the rest for another time) and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, vanilla paste or seeds and coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Add the set-aside chicken and cook for another 20–30 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain the liquid. Combine the remaining liquid, chicken and cashews and reheat. Garnish with coriander before serving with basmati rice.


(c) 2012

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