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Recipe: Chicken, Ginger and Cumin Curry


This curry keeps well in the fridge for a few days and the leftovers taste even better the next day.


1 kg Chicken pieces, including thighs, drums, wings
2 cloves Garlic
5 cm Fresh ginger, peeled
1 medium Onion, peeled and cut into quaters
1 Tbsp Oil
1 large Lemon, or lime, freshly juiced
1 Tbsp Cumin seeds
1 pinch Cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp Tomato paste
½ cup Cream, or yoghurt


  • Remove skin from the chicken if you prefer.
  • Place garlic, ginger and onion in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Add 150ml water to make into a thin puree.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan. When hot, add the chicken pieces and brown on both sides. While cooking season with salt.
  • When the chicken is nicely browned, squeeze over the lemon juice and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Add the cumin seeds, cayenne and tomato paste.
  • Pour in the garlic, onion and ginger puree, cover the frying pan with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Turn the chicken. Stir in the cream or yoghurt. Add enough water to cover the chicken, cover and continue to cook on a low heat for 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Cooking time will depend on the cut of chicken you have used and whether it is on the bone.
  • Check for seasoning — you may need more salt or cayenne if you like it hot.
  • Remove from the heat and rest with the lid on for 5-10 minutes. The chicken will keep cooking in this time and will be more tender when you come to eat it.
  • Serve with rice and steamed seasonal vegetables.

Cream or yoghurt?

Cream enriches the dish and gives a smoother, more elegant mouth-feel. Yoghurt is the more healthy option, but it will curdle, meaning that you will see small lumps of white protein. I am relaxed about this for everyday cooking, but if you want to impress someone, it would be better to use cream and this way they will think that you have not wrecked the recipe by curdling it! The recipe is delicious both ways.

For the kids

Omit the cumin seeds and cayenne, serve the children’s portions and then at the last minute, add the cumin and cayenne to your meal.


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Celia Hay

Celia is a qualified chef and holds the WSET (London) Diploma of Wine. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History, Master of Education (Distinction) and MBA Master of Business Administration from the University of Canterbury.

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The School

Founded by Celia Hay, the New Zealand School of Food and Wine opened its first campus in Christchurch in 1995.

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