This is my chicken and lentil version of my hot and sour fish curry and it remains a simple, quick and very addictive curry.
This recipe is dedicated to my partner, Simon: a key worker who works nights at Tesco and, along with so many other key workers, is doing a tremendous job that I am so grateful for. I salute Simon and all other key workers.
It is a real pleasure to cook for Simon before he goes to work, and this is one of his favourite dishes that he asks for frequently. And who am I to say “no”, as I love this curry too!
The recipe for my earlier fish curry is here and I cannot recommend this sauce highy enough: salty, sweet, hot and a little sour it truly tickles those taste buds!
Convenience foods shine here!
This is very much a convenience food dish and it is none the poorer for it.
I used a tin of lentils here: great for convenience and they taste really good in this curry, absorbing some of the flavour of the spices. I have also made this using the ready-cooked lentils that come in pouches. If you are not a fan of lentils, you can use butter beans or chick peas which work marvellously. As does cauliflower: arguably one of the best vegetables to use in a curry such as this.
Chicken thighs are so often my chicken cut of choice: inexpensive and full of flavour, they are are, for me, a must-have in the kitchen when it comes to meat.
If you do not have fresh ginger, then powdered ginger or stem ginger from a jar will work very well indeed.
This time, I served the curry with a refreshing red onion relish which is simply chopped red onion mixed with some chopped mint, salt, a little wine vinegar and some toasted cumin seeds.
The rice here was a packet of long-grain rice with wild rice: one of those packets that was buried at the back of a cupboard and was still well in date!
Recipe: hot & sour fish curry – serves 4
For the hot & sour curry
- 6-8 chicken thighs, ideally off the bone and skinned
- 1 tin of lentils (any type), drained
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3-4 large onions(about 500g) – any type – peeled
- 4 fat cloves of garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
- 4″ piece fresh ginger, peeled (or 3 pieces stem ginger from a jar or 2 teaspoons powdered ginger)
- 1 small mild red chilli, de-deeded
- 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
- 3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 600ml water
- a handful (about 50g) fresh coriander, leaves and stalks, optional
(1) Put the onions, garlic, red chilli and ginger into a food processor. Blitz for a few moments to give a thickish paste.
(2) Heat the oil in large pan over a medium heat and add the turmeric. Cook gently for 1 minute, stirring a little so it doesn’t burn.
(3) Add the onion mixture, the fish sauce and the sugar and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time to ensure it doesn’t catch.
(4) Add the water and bring to a simmer. Put the lid on and cook for about 20 minutes before removing the lid and cooking for a further 15-20 minutes to reduce slightly: this is where the flavour really develops and intensifies wonderfully.
(5) Add the chicken thighs to the curry sauce along with the lentils – you can chop the chicken into smaller pieces if you want to. Put the lid on and simmer very gently for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken has cooked. Gently stir through the chopped coriander and serve.