‘Cook it like a prayer’: Bip Ling’s Christmas curry

21 December 2019

9:00 AM

21 December 2019

9:00 AM

This dish is refreshing and super yummy. It’s a recipe that Didas (my Indian grandmother) taught me. The zesty tomato flavour makes my mouth water. You can’t go wrong with this curry. Everyone loves it and always asks for more! It’s comforting and warm, especially when it’s cold outside during Christmas time.

Cook the dish like a prayer. The more you enjoy the process, the better it will taste. You can use the same recipe with different meat, or try it with vegetables. Make sure you taste the sauce as you cook, and add more spices if you desire. It’s even more fun to cook with the song ‘Curry’ by Bip Ling in the background.

‘Curry cuddles 4 life 😉 Wub Bip Ling xo’

Ingredients – serves four

Chicken breasts, 2 or 3 large portions, cut into cubes
Ground cumin (roasted or powder), 1 tsp
Coriander powder, ½ tsp
Curry powder, ½ tsp
Turmeric powder, 1 tsp (or fresh turmeric, ¼ inch grated, if available)
Sunflower oil, ½ cup
1 red onion
1 red pepper; 1 green pepper
6 cherry tomatoes
2 onions, cut lengthwise
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
Hot water, ½ cup
An inch of fresh ginger, grated or chopped thinly
Sea salt, 1 tsp or to taste
5 cardamom seeds
6 cloves
Cinnamon powder, ¼ teaspoon
Red chilli powder (I prefer Kashmir chilli), ½ tsp
Chilli flakes, ½ tsp
A tin of plum tomatoes
Tomato purée, 1 dessert spoon
Yoghurt (plain or Greek) or sour cream, 2 dessert spoons
2 fresh green chillies, de-seeded
Fresh coriander, chopped, ½ cup
Melted ghee, 2 tbsps;
2 dry whole chillies
Basmati rice and/or naan bread


1. Marinate the chicken with cumin, coriander powder, curry powder and turmeric.
2. Add the oil in a heavy-based saucepan and fry the chicken till brown. Leave aside.
3. In the same pan, add more oil and gently fry the red onion, peppers and cherry tomatoes. Leave aside.
4. Add more oil and, on a medium heat, cook the other onions and the garlic, frying gently and using a wooden spoon. Don’t burn the bottom! Add a little hot water and keep frying so that the pan bottom becomes clean. Add the ginger and all the spices, except the green chillies and the dried chillies. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and yoghurt a little at a time. (Adding more oil will help bring colour and separate the spices.) Season. Put the lid on and cook on very low heat for at least ten minutes. Add the green chillies.
5. Add the chicken portions and cook on a low heat for five/six minutes with the lid on. The curry will be red and some oil will have separated. Taste, and add more salt if required.
6. Gently mix in the red onion, peppers and cherry tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes.
7. Fry the whole dried chillies for six seconds in mild hot oil and place on top. Garnish with the melted ghee and fresh coriander. Serve with basmati rice and/or naan bread.

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