As you are well aware by now, I am South African with Indian roots. I’ve been on a little quest to create traditional Indian recipes, but with a unique spin on them. This is today’s recipe, inspired by North Indian cuisine – and with the unique addition of kale. Kale is crunchy and has a texture that you wouldn’t normally experience in Indian food, as Indians like to cook their spinach until it’s really soft. This is a generalisation, I know, but I can guarantee that any Indian restaurant won’t serve you crunchy spinach!
Actually, Indians can always overcook things. It’s like in our DNA. I’m trying to cull this habit out of me because I believe in the perfect medium rare steak or lamb. We’ll have a chat about that in the future, I promise 🙂
Anyway, enough about my heritage – this dish is a typically creamy chicken curry with cashew nuts, a hint of fresh coconut, and a lot of cardamom spice. It is not too spicy, although I added spicy elements in the form of pepper, coriander and red chilli. You do not have to use the chilli if you are not in favour of heat in your food. A crucial constituent of the dish is ghee; also known as clarified butter. You simply will not get the same taste if you use butter in lieu of ghee. It’s got to be ghee or nothing else! PS… Did I mention that this is a low carb, high fat dish if you’re having it with carbohydrate-free accompaniments?? That’s good news for Banting dieters, because you don’t have to compromise on any of the ingredients in the recipe! Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over your food & serve it with steamed basmati rice, hot rotis or naan bread – it’s so rich and delicious that you’ll be licking everything from the spoon to your plate!
500g chicken breast fillets
200g Kale leaves (about a cup of chopped Kale)
1 white onion
100 g cashew nuts, finely ground
1 tbsp fresh coconut, finely grated
250 ml fresh cream
250 ml full cream milk
2 heaped tsp ground ginger and garlic paste
1/2 tsp white pepper powder
1 tsp coriander spice
1 tbsp cardamom spice
1-2 red chillies
65 ml ghee (clarified butter – about 1/4 cup) + 2 tbsp
Salt to season – I used 1.5 tsp salt, but you can adjust depending on your salt intake
- Clean your chicken fillets and cube the fillet pieces. Marinade the chicken cubes in a bowl with ginger & garlic, salt, pepper, cardamom spice, coriander spice. Set aside.
- Heat a non-stick pot to 180°C or medium heat. Finely chop the onion as thin as you can get it. Sauté the onion in the 2 tbsp of ghee.
- Keep stirring onion, ensuring it does not get brown – you want the onions to become translucent.
- Before the onions are done, add the chilli/chillies. You can choose if you want it whole or not. I chopped up the chilli and removed the seeds.
- Stir this up and when the onions appear translucent and soft, add your chicken pieces to the pot. Let the pieces get browned and get all the chicken’s juices to dry up. This should take just over 5 minutes.
- When the chicken has browned a little, add the rest of the ghee with the cashew nuts, coconut and kale. Leave this to simmer in the ghee for just 5 minutes and then add your cream and milk.
- Now, a lot of people tell you never to let the milk scald and all that jazz, but I’m always cooking in a hurry, so at this point I crank up the heat. I just watch over the food and stir continuously to prevent the pot’s bottom from getting burnt. You are basically doing this to reduce the milky mixture into the creamy sauce that can be seen in the picture. I think the time that this takes varies, but I would safely narrow it down to no more than 10 minutes.
- Once you have successfully reduced the milk & cream into a thick, creamy cashew gravy, remove from the stove – it’s ready for serving!