Balti chicken with leeks and lentils
One of the best Indian meals
This delicious hot and spicy curry just needs a paratha and cucumber raita. This is a fabulous meal, for us it had just the right amount of heat and spices. The leeks make an interesting change in a curry.
- 75 g split red lentils
- 4 tablespoons ghee or corn oil
- 1 heaped teaspoon black mustard seeds
- A large pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 medium leeks, washed and chopped
- 4 Indian green chillies or a mix or red and green, split down the middle. These types of chillies keep brilliantly in the freezer.
- 4 curry leaves, a few bay leaves will do as a poor substitute
- Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 teaspoon of curry powder
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, ground
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 450 g whole chicken, skinned, boned and cut into cubes
- Freshly chopped coriander leaves to garnish
Place the chicken pieces, lemon juice and zest in a Lock & Lock box, give then a good shake and leave to marinade in a cool place fo a few hours or more, if you have the time. Leave the lemon pieces in while the chicken marinates and discard them before cooking
- Wash the lentils carefully and pick over them to remove any stones, is always advised on lentil recipes, though I have yet to find any pebbles in my lentils. I guess food standards have improved since the first Indian recipes were penned!
- Place the lentils in a pan with just enough cold water to cover
- Bring to the boil, cover and simmer vigorously until soft, about 10 minutes, but it does depend on the type of lentils you are using
- Most of the water should have been absorbed, keep a few tablespoons of the cooking liquor to loosen the curry a little. Set the lentils to one side
- Add the ghee or oil to a wok together with the black pepper and the mustard seeds and bring it to a medium heat
- As soon as the mustard seeds start to pop, quickly add the leeks, chillies, curry leaves and and stir-fry gently for 3 to 4 minutes
- Add the chicken pieces, together with the lemon juice and stir-fry for 7 minutes
- Tip in the chopped tomatoes, curry powder, ground coriander, turmeric, mix well and cook for a few minutes more
- Mix in the cooked lentils with enough of the cooking liquor to loosen the curry
- Heat and stir until the chicken is properly cooked, this should probably take another 10 minutes
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