Camp Fire Curry

I went camping in the “bush” for Easter. Full on wilderness. However, it didn’t run like clockwork. As usual we were completely disorganised and had packed up the car in about 20 minutes. We’d not thought of how we were going to cook – I had pans etc, but how would they be held over a flame?. We’d also forgotten to bring any bedding or pillows. Worse still, being Good Friday we were also unable to get hold of any alcohol. We decided to make the most of it and carry on regardless. After finding a ‘no frills’ campsite which was nicely spread out to avoid the presence of anyone else, we set about making a fire. Rather fortuitously, we’d procured an old fridge shelf from the side of the road and after I’d melted off the plastic coating it served as the perfect cooking shelf over the campfire for my pans. Things were looking far more promising and I was almost forgetting about not having a glass of wine in my hand. Now I am not one to make do with bad food just because I’m camping but similarly I don’t want to make my life a nightmare – a curry is perfect – probably easier than most dishes as it’s all in the one pot. So, armed with a “travelling larder” ie. a festival of small plastic bags stuffed with various herbs & spices) I set to work. It was pitch black and the only source of light was coming from a piss poor battery powered lamp, I was working ‘blind’. Fumbling about trying to find various pots and spices was part frustrating, part comical – mostly an utterly enjoyable experience. I’m sure that the smoke from the slightly damp wood we’d gathered really did add to the aroma of this dish. It was truly one of the tastiest curries I’ve made. As for your version, you don’t have to set up camp in your back garden to make it – I’m sure it’ll be just as tasty on the stove top.

600g chicken thighs (cut into 1/3s)
2 onions (chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (peeled & chopped)
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
6-7 small dried red chillies
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
400ml coconut milk

Heat the oil in a large pot then fry together the onions, ginger and garlic for 5-6 minutes until lightly browned. Throw in all the remaining ingredients except the chicken and coconut milk and stir for 1 minute. Add the chicken and let it fry for 4-5 minutes until sealed on all sides. Pour in the coconut milk, stir well and let it simmer for 30-40 minutes. The sauce should have thickened slightly.

Serve with plenty of Jasmine rice on a delightful plastic plate if you’re eating outdoors like I did.

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