This Sri Lankan dish was traditionally given to convalescing adults or new mothers, which may sound odd but the reasons are simple; it is not overly hot so easy to digest and it benefits from a generous number of supposed health giving spices. We like its simplicity and flavour. If you find it too mild add a diced red chilli or a teaspoon of chilli powder.
500g diced chicken breast
1 ½ tablespoons Ceylon curry powder
1 onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
10 curry leaves
1 teaspoon of Fennel seeds
1 tablespoon sesame oil
240ml coconut milk
½ tablespoon fresh lime juice
salt to taste
In a pestle and mortar grind the garlic cloves into a thick paste and set aside.
In a non-stick frying pan set over a low - medium heat slowly dry roast fennel seeds until they turn golden. Once they are done increase the heat to medium, add the sesame oil and onions and fry until till soft, about 5 minutes. Now add the curry leaves and continue to fry until the onions become golden brown.
Add chicken pieces, garlic paste, curry powder, salt and the water and give everything a good stir.
Cover and cook on a low heat until all the water has evaporated, stirring intermittently.
Keep the heat low and add the coconut milk, stir it through thoroughly until the chicken has cooked well and then simmer until gravy thickens.
Remove from the heat and add the lime juice, stir and let it stand for 5 minutes before serving. Goes well with basmati and some breads.