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Chicken Thigh Curry & Cauliflower Rice

Hello you wonderful people! Today, I thought I'd share with you a favourite meal in the Amy & Matt household and it is, of course, something spicy. This is the first ever meal Matthew cooked for me when we started dating and it has been a favourite ever since. You know those meals when someone said you're having that tonight that just make you go *yaaaasss*? You betcha, it's one of those.

This chicken thigh baked curry might not be the most convenient of curries as its not out a jar, but its definitely worth the extra effort - it tastes amazing. We tend to have it with cauliflower rice so it's not too bad for you. Matt cooked it up and I tried to get some photos and details from the chef himself to give you some guidance on what you're supposed to be doing. It's a recipe from River Cottage but has been tweaked here and there!

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

What you'll need:
- 2 heaped tsp cumin seeds
- 2 heaped tsp coriander seeds
- 1 heaped tsp fennel seeds
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tsp ground fenugreek
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 large green chilli, roughly chopped
- 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, roughly chopped
- 3-4 tbsp sunflower or groundnut oil
- 4-6 chicken thighs (depending on how many mouths you're feeding)
- 400g tin of tomatoes
- 400ml tin of coconut milk
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

... The beer is totally optional ingredient that goes straight to the chef, of course.

To prep & cook:
1.) Toast the cumin, coriander, and fennel seed in a dry frying pan for a couple of minutes max until they leave the kitchen smelling delish. Then throw them into a pestle and mortar and grind them up until a rough powder is formed then mix in the turmeric and fenugreek.

2.) Next, blitz the onion, garlic, green chilli, and ginger in a food processor. It should create a thick coarse paste and keep it to one side. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over a medium to high heat and add the chicken thighs. Season them and make sure the skin is fully brown all over. Then transfer them to a large roasting dish or chilli pot and make sure they're lying skin-side up.

**Masterchef Matt's pro tip: If you're trying to de-skin fresh root ginger,
use a teaspoon to scrape off its coat - it'll make your life easier!**

3.) Whilst those are sitting waiting, reduce the heat your frying pan is on and add the spice mix from the pestle and mortar to the leftover juices and oil from the chicken. Lightly fry the mix for a minute or two then add the paste from the food processor. Fry for about 5 minutes and stir occasionally until the paste is soft and reduced slightly. If the mixture sticks to the pan at any point, don't hesitate to add a little more oil!

**Masterchef Matt's pro tip: heating up your dry spices in a dry frying pan helps wake up the natural oils in them and therefore creates more flavour. Adding a teaspoon of coarse salt to the mix also helps whole spices break down easier to release more flavour**

4.) Next, preheat your oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4, ready for the chicken. Add your tinned toms and coconut milk to the unclean food processor and blitz it together. Add this to the frying pan mix and leave it to simmer - don't be alarmed if its quite pink to begin with! Stir the sauce constantly and add a teaspoon of salt and some pepper before pouring the sauce over those chicken thighs you have waiting in your roasting dish/chilli pot. Make sure the sauce has coated all of the chicken pieces but also make sure there's not too much sauce sitting on top of the chicken - if you can't see the chicken skin then it won't go nice and brown in the oven!

5.) Place the chicken dish into the preheated oven and let it bake for 1 hour or until the chicken has browned nicely on the top and is cooked through. Make sure you don't cover the chicken (e.g. with a lid or tin foil) and baste the chicken a couple of times during its 1 hour cooking time, just to keep it juicy. Lastly you need some rice ready to soak up that lovely sauce. By all means use your usual basmati, but if you want a slightly healthier, less carby version, grate or food process a whole cauliflower (depending on your portion sizes, a whole cauliflower will suit maybe 2-3 people. If you're having naan or poppadoms, go ahead and make it stretch to 4). Add a teaspoon of oil to a pan on a medium heat and throw the grated cauliflower in there. Move it around until it crisps up and fries - and there you go - healthy rice without any rice in sight!

And there you have it! This recipe is a goodie if you're cooking for a group of people or even if you're just making it for yourself - the sauce keeps for a couple of days in the fridge or just put it in some tupperware and stick it in the freezer so its quick and easy to make the next time. Thanks to Matt for being the superstar chef for this post!

- A.
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