Chef Gurpareet Bains recently released his cookbook Indian Superfood, a delightful collection that combines superfood and super spices to create the world famous Indian Superfood cuisine. www.indiansuperfood.com
• Spicy prawns in a dry seaweed masala
• Ginger-infused yogurt with Honey and Pomegranate
• Poached chicken and mango salad with mustard seed
• Sweet potato samosa rolls with tamarind reduction
Chocolate and Chicken Curry
By Gurpareet Bains from his book, “Indian Superfood” (Absolute Press, 2010)
I first came across chocolate curry in my days at RAJ TV, where I was gainfully employed as an Asian Keith Floyd, visiting restaurants and chatting with their chefs whilst tasting food on camera—well somebody had to do it!
Iqbal was the very charismatic proprietor of Sweet Chillies in Yardley Wood, who first mentioned chocolate curry to me, disclosing that it was popular with the ladies. I don’t actually recall seeing it on his menu at the time; so maybe I’d had too much wine, or perhaps he was just pulling my leg. But still, it made perfectly good sense to bring together a passion for Indian food with chocolate.
So, here is my version for the ladies, and gentlemen. If you are fond of chicken tikka masala, you should be smitten by this one too. It’s a rich and silky curry with the uniquely bittersweet taste of chocolate. It can be made richer still with the inclusion of a few pieces of dark chocolate.
And, since this is ‘allegedly’ a Brummie recipe, it requires Bournville cocoa; so, none of the fancy Belgian chocolat—s’il vous plaît. Cocoa also releases antioxidants and feel good endorphins into our body and that’s why it’s widely known as an aphrodisiac. In fact, cocoa has been a chi-chi superfood ever since the savvy Aztec Indians first laid their hands on it, mixing it with spices to make a drink. Cardamom further intensifies these aphrodisiac properties. Perhaps this one’s best for Valentine’s Day?
3 teaspoons cocoa powder
400ml light coconut milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon cloves
7 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½-1 teaspoon chilli powder
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
4 teaspoons sugar, or to taste
chopped fresh cilantro, to season
Place the cocoa in a large bowl. Slowly pour in the coconut milk, stirring all the time until you have a smooth mixture. Set aside.
Pour the olive oil into a deep saucepan, add the cloves and cardamom pods and cook over a medium heat until the oil is hot and the cloves and cardamom pods start to release their aroma—this should take no longer than 2-3 minutes. Add the salt and onion and fry until the onion is light brown in colour, remembering to stir frequently—this should take no more than 5 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and fry fro about 1-2 minutes or until a light brown colour. Sprinkle in the ginger and chilli powder, mix well and cook for about 20 seconds. Add the chicken to the pan and cook until sealed all over, stirring all the time—this should take no more than 5 minutes.
Pour in the cocoa mixture, together with the sugar and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes, remembering to stir to avoid any sticking.
Remove the chicken from the pan to a warm plate and set aside. Remove and discard the cardamom pods and cloves. Transfer the sauce to a food processor. Season with chopped coriander and blitz until smooth.
Return the sauce and chicken pieces to the saucepan and heat through. Serve with your choice of sides.
Superb photo of chocolate chicken curry by Soma Rathore.