This recipe uses no fewer than 8 long red chillies but fear yet not: remove the seeds, confit (slow cook in ghee/oil/ fat) the flesh, becomes incredibly soft and sweet. Slow-cooking the chicken in the same way makes the meat incredible tender and juicy. This sounds like a spicy dish, but it is actually very subtle but no less flavourful.
This is brilliant served in warm wraps or naans with a nutty, spicy dhal. Ive been meaning to try this recipe from dad-of-five and fellow foodie John Clayton and whose blog Files and Records is one of my favourites for ages. It didnt disappoint.
For the chicken
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
150g butter ghee
8 long red chillies, soaked in water for 2 hours, then deseeded
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
For the dhal
1 mug of red lentils or moong dhal
1tsp red chilli powder
4 large tomatoes or 200g chopped tomatoes
1 green chillies, deseeded and chopped
1 cinnamon stick
2 black cardamon pods (or 4 green cardamon pods, if you dont have black)
1 ladle of ghee
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tbsp cumin seeds (or 1 tsp cumin powder)
1. For the chicken. Add all the ingredients except the garam masala to a slow cooker and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours until the chicken is very tender. After 3 hours add the garam masala and stir through.
2. For the dhal. Wash and soak the lentils or moong dhal in cold water. In a large pan bring 3 mugs of water to the boil (same mug size you measured the lentils with). Add salt, chilli powder, turmeric, chopped tomatoes, drained lentils, cinnamon stick, black cardamon and the chillies if youre using them. Stir it, leave it to simmer without the lid for half an hour, stirring every 10 minutes. If it starts to stick, add a little water to loosen it up.
3. When the lentils have cooked, theyll be fairly mushy and the mixture will be nice and thick.
4. When youre into the last 10 minutes, heat up the ghee in a small pan over a low heat. Add the cumin seeds and garlic, fry gently for a couple of minutes.. Add this mixture to the lentils and mix thoroughly.
5. Serve the chicken with the spiced ghee in one bowl and the dhal in another. Warm some tortilla wraps or naan bread in the oven. Serve with chopped coriander.