Chapati and Mozambican Coconut Curry...
We never use a recipe to make Chapati! I wonder if any one really does... do you? These ones have millet and chapati flour, salt and a spoon of oil. We use boiling hot water to bring it all together. From the responses I got on Instagram, it seems we are not the only ones!
We haven't got a recipe for Mozambican chicken curry either. Mum and Aunt Soraya have similar hands and nose for it (so those are the pots to keep your eyes on, if you're ever at one of our family parties ?). We use our eyes and hands as measures, and our noses to guide us, they seem to know when it's just right.
When I was 16, mum tried to teach me all her tricks, but I just didn't listen. Somehow, it found its way into my head and stuck with me. In Uni, I discovered, I preferred cooking, to pot noodles... So, cooking from the heart sort of began there! After a quick phone call, mum gave me strict instructions (which I didn't follow), and ended up using my nose to achieve similar results. At one point I claimed to know if a dish was properly salted, using just my nose! These days, I double check with a drop of sauce on the palm of my hand, and taste like all the aunties do. And then make everyone taste it too. Only a drop though!
So, here it is... My mum's coconut curry! It takes time, cooked slowly, over low heat. The coconut milk has to bubble vigorously for a good 8 minutes, but then... low and slow. It tastes better the next day, so maybe double the recipe and save some for a rainy day.
Mozambican Chicken Coconut Curry
2 spoons coconut / veg oil
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, pounded with a pinch of salt
2 medium tomatoes, de-seeded and diced finely
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 cinnamon stick
200ml coconut milk
900g skinless whole chicken cut into segments, or bone-in chicken pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
1/8 cup coriander, chopped roughly (to sprinkle)
In a medium sized pot, gently heat coconut oil. Soften onions on low heat until translucent, add garlic, cinnamon stick and turmeric. Add tomatoes, stir until a thick paste forms. Add chicken segments, making sure you coat them well in the reduced paste, lower the heat to minimum and cover the pot to allow chicken to sweat all its juices, for approximately 30-45 minutes.
Pour 150ml coconut milk and bring to rolling boil, lower heat to medium and simmer gently until the sauce thickens. Add the remaining coconut milk to refresh the sauce. Cook on gentle heat for 2-3minutes. Sprinkle with coriander. Serve with chapati and a quick red onion pickle, or fluffy white rice.
Quick Pickled onions with a few chilli flakes, served on the side.