Food & Wine

Delightful oven-roasted chicken curry

Delightful oven-roasted chicken curry

This grounding, warming curry is a meal in itself, with the split peas adding sustenance to keep you feeling full. I make it fairly mild so that everyone can enjoy it, then add a good sprinkle of fresh or dried chilli to mine at the table, along with a dollop of yoghurt. I think cooking this in the oven rather than on the stovetop produces a far richer, thicker curry, but you could take the stovetop option. Just keep the temperature low and the lid slightly off. The spice paste is worth having on hand in the fridge – simply rub it over chicken or lamb before barbecuing or use it as a marinade.

Serves: 6


  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 brown onions, diced
  • 700 g (1 lb 9 oz) skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into 3 cm (11/4 inch) pieces
  • 1/2 cup (130 g) Greek-style yoghurt, plus extra to serve
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste (concentrated purée)
  • 680 g (1 lb 8 oz) jar tomato passata
  • 3 cups (750 ml) chicken stock
  • 1 cup (205 g) chana dahl (split yellow lentils), soaked in cold water for at least 1 hour
  • 2 handfuls English spinach
  • Toasted slivered almonds, to serve
  • Steamed rice, to serve
Spice paste

  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 thumb-sized piece ginger,

    roughly chopped

  • 1 thumb-sized piece turmeric, roughly chopped, or 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • A good pinch of chilli flakes,

    or to taste

  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil

  1. For the spice paste, combine the cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick and peppercorns in a dry frying pan and toast for a few minutes or until fragrant. Transfer to a food processor, spice grinder or mortar and pestle and bash/blitz until well ground. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander, chilli and coconut oil and bash/blitz again until combined.
  2. Preheat the oven to 130°C (250°F). Heat the coconut oil in a large ovenproof saucepan or flameproof casserole dish over medium heat. Cook the onion for 7–10 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the spice paste and cook, stirring constantly, for a few minutes. Bump

    up the heat to high, add the chicken and cook for 3–4 minutes to seal.

  3. Add 1 tablespoon of the yoghurt, stirring well so all the flavours mix together and the yoghurt dries somewhat, then repeat with another tablespoon of yoghurt and another until it’s all incorporated. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another minute.
  4. Add the passata and stir until the chicken is well coated in the spiced yoghurt mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, then pour in the stock and chana dahl and stir well. Transfer to the oven and cook for 3 hours, stirring every now and then so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Stir in the spinach and serve the curry with slivered almonds, yoghurt and steamed rice.
Images and Text from A Basket by the Door by Sophie Hansen, Murdoch Books RRP $39.99.