Curry calls to mind India; coconut curry calls to mind Thailand. The following recipe, however, is a traditional Kenyan one from the East Coast – the kind of meal that the characters in my novel Burning Embers may well have enjoyed, cooked by their local staff. I prefer a mild curry (as I imagine Coral in Burning Embers does), so I tone down the spicy ingredients; but by experimenting with quantities of the spices and chillis you can turn up the heat. Enjoy!
1 can of chopped plum tomatoes
1 can of coconut milk
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon of mild curry powder
2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
3 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
One red chilli pepper, chopped finely
Small bulb of stem ginger, grated
Two large cloves of garlic, crushed
1. Put the onion, chillis, ginger and garlic in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add a little water if necessary.
2. Fry the chicken, onion, curry powder and cumin in a little oil until the onion is transparent and the chicken is no longer pink.
3. Stir in the tomatoes, bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes.
4. Add the coconut milk and season.
5. Simmer, covered, on a low heat until the chicken is tender – about half an hour should suffice.
6. Serve with rice, or with chapattis dunked in.
Tip: If the curry becomes too dry, add some water or more coconut milk. You can also make this dish in a slow cooker, and the chicken is wonderfully succulent cooked this way – simply transfer the curry to the slow cooker in Step 6.