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Durban Curry Masterpiece

Favorite recipe of all time. That's the best way I can sum up today's featured post. Back in the days that I ran my cooking schools both in South Africa and Israel, my Indian-themed class was undoubtedly my most successful, and this lesson plan was repeated at least 50 times over these years. One dish was the outright winner and, given its authentic origins, this is hardly surprising. Durban - a seaside city along South Africa's Natal coast - is reputed to have the largest Indian population outside of India, and this classic Durban curry is based on a traditional, family recipe shared with me by a generous, Indian grandmother. I tweaked it slightly to ensure required ingredients are all easy to find but it remains entirely authentic. If you're a true curry fan, then this flavor-packed masterpiece is unmissable, and if you're not, it may just convert you. Perfectly timed for the icy weather and a priceless addition to your Meatland recipe collection.

1 - 1.2 kg pargiot/chicken thighs, cut in large cubes (see notes) 2 large onions, quartered Large chunk peeled ginger 4 fat cloves garlic 1 large bunch coriander leaves 4 tablespoons canola oil 1 tablespoon fennel seeds 1 tablespoon lightly crushed whole coriander seeds (optional) 1 large cinnamon stick or teaspoon cinnamon 4 teaspoons curry powder (see notes) 2 teaspoons garam masala 2 teaspoons ground cumin 2 teaspoons ground coriander 400 gram can crushed tomatoes 4 large potatoes, cut in chunks and par-boiled 2 teaspoons salt 4 tablespoons chutney 1: Chop the onions in the food processor and set aside then process the garlic, ginger and coriander leaves to a fine paste. 2: Fry the onions and herb paste in the oil for 5 minutes over medium heat till soft but not browned, add spices and allow to sizzle for 30 seconds, then add chicken and toss to coat well in the spicy mixture. 3: Turn heat to low, cover pot, and allow chicken to cook covered for 3/4 hour - 1 hour, tossing every 15 to 20 minutes. Do not add any liquid at all as it will soon make its own gravy and this is what makes it so special and flavorful. 4: Add the potatoes, tomatoes, salt and chutney and cook a further 30 minutes till potatoes are totally soft, and gravy is thick. 5: Stir in 2 extra teaspoons of garam masala - optional - before serving for added flavor. COOK'S NOTES: Only chicken thighs work this magic and make their own, flavorful gravy and it is highly recommended you use nothing else for maximum results. If you absolutely insist on using breasts, then you'll have to add chicken stock when cooking, and will enjoy a good enough but certainly not masterpiece-worthy results. Spices are easy to find at any good spice shop and almost all are available at Meatland. Add a couple of teaspoons of extra hot curry powder for added spice as this version is quite mild. The very best curry yet and well worth making and saving. Serves approximately 6.

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