This recipe is a mild, fragrant curry rather than a hot, spicy one. It originates from Kashmir in the Northern part of the Indian Subcontinent where the vast green valleys are spotted with villages where not so many years ago it would have been customary for villagers to cook on open fires in their small courtyards, squatting before their cast iron pots and patiently tending to the delicious curry bubbling away within.
So curries are great for cooking outdoors. All the ingredients are prepared in one pot, ideal for a Dutch oven.
I’ve even thrown all the ingredients in the pot in one go before and produced a tasty meal. If you plan to do this, just make sure you use a protein that takes longer to cook, or add it at a later stage to the pot to avoid over cooking.
I always use fresh whole spices and herbs for my curries but when I’m camping the last thing I want to do is prepare all of these ingredients outdoors. So grind the seeds at home and pack them in a sealed bag or Tupperware box. Pre-prepared ground spices are fine too. You’ll get a different flavor but still very tasty.
The recipe below is for a basic chicken curry, but there are loads of variations. You could add diced potatoes twenty minutes before your curry is finished. And lentils are a very traditional Kashmiri addition to chicken curry.
Remember, nobody in Kashmir or anywhere in India will measure the ingredients out exactly. These are approximate measures but if you want to double the quantity of an onion, or halve the quantity of cumin go for it. Feel free to add extras too. Chilies and fresh ginger can be added at the same time as the garlic.
This recipe will make four generous servings.
Once you finish checking out this recipe below, here are a few more you will love.
If new to dutch oven cooking, we have an article that will help you here
- 8 to 10 chicken thighs. (On the bone adds more flavor)
- 2 large onions, finely diced
- ¾ cup cooking oil
- 2 heaped tsp each of ground cumin and coriander seeds
- 1 heaped tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2-3 curry leaves (optional) Bay leaves can be an alternative option
- ½ cinnamon stick (optional)
- 1 heaped tbsp each turmeric and paprika powder
- 6 fresh tomatoes or 14oz can diced or crushed tomatoes
- Heat the oil in the Dutch oven. Make sure there’s enough coals on the bottom to ensure the oil is sizzling before you add the diced onions. Keep adding more coals as they die out throughout the cooking process.
- Add the onions, ensuring they are totally coated in the oil. It’s at this stage that you can take your time to really caramelise them until they almost look burnt. This will give a real depth to the flavour of your curry. If not, fry them until golden brown.
- Add the cumin, coriander, black pepper, salt, garlic, curry leaves and cinnamon stick. Fry them for a couple of minutes. If they stick to the bottom of the Dutch oven add a little cold water and stir often.
- Add the chicken thighs and brown slightly.
- Add the turmeric and paprika and stir until well mixed.
- Add the tomatoes and extra water depending on how thick you want your curry. Remember the liquid will reduce down so be sure not to start off with too thick a sauce.
- Cover the Dutch oven and cook until the chicken is tender. Keep checking every 10 minutes or so to make sure it’s not drying out or catching on the bottom. Add more water if this is happening and keep stirring.