The Cottage Smallholder

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Great recipes for leftovers: Summery spiced chicken curry recipe

doves canoodlingMany years ago Danny and I stopped for a curry in an Indian restaurant beyond the outskirts of Soho. When we pushed open the door we found that we were the only non Indian people in the restaurant. The meal was amazing. Hot, succulent and flavoursome. Nothing like the Indian restaurants that we know and love. A year later the yearning for their food was so overwhelming that we motored down to London to sample their food again.

The restaurant had vanished, We walked up and down the street several times and eventually drove the 70 miles back home.

“Who’s cooking tonight?”, asked D as he set down my morning tea.
“Me. It’ll be risotto with the left over chicken.”

Plans made in bed early morning can change in an instant when you actually get up and pull on your dressing gown.

When I arrived downstairs I worked out exactly what I had to do before jumping into Jalopy and heading for Saffron Walden. I realised that I was at the start of a day when the walls would probably start to close in. Often I plan an escape to Bolivia on days like these but usually something distracts me.

There were no distractions.

As the Walden light faded I realised that I couldn’t face yet another risotto. I needed to make something new and different to shake me out of the doldrums. I considered a vegetarian frittata or a soufflé. Good but not the ‘proper meal’ that D would want after the drive back from a heavy day in Bristol.

When Mike mentioned that turmeric is the best spice for stimulating the brain, I decided that it just had to be curry tonight. Back home, I browsed the web for some spicy inspiration and eventually concocted this dish. I happily chopped the red pepper and tomatoes and started to focus on the experimental sauce. I was trying to recreate the fresh, spicy flavours from the ‘lost’ Indian Reataurant.

When I unwrapped the cooked chicken my heart sank. There was so little meat left on the carcass. Barely half a chicken breast and a few pickings. But with the long Romano pepper and toms, the paltry chicken element was disguised. We were both delighted with this dish. Good clean spicy flavours with no curry house muddiness.

The dogs’ culinary horizons have expanded recently. They loved the remnants of this meal, despite D saying that it was too spicy for canines. To make their point they stood in a line beside Danny’s chair, baying for more.

The photo is from last autumn. Doves preparing to canoodle. The curried chicken shots remain on my mobile phone, like the magical restaurant. Inaccessible.

Summery spiced chicken curry recipe


  • 2 tblsp of olive oil
  • 1 large onion (chopped into small cubes)
  • 1 red Marmara pepper (chopped into small cubes)
  • 6 baby tomatoes (chopped into eighths)
  • 1 fat garlic clove (chopped very fine)
  • Half tsp of ground ginger
  • Half tsp of turmeric
  • 3 tsp of ground coriander
  • Quarter tsp of cayenne pepper
  • Splosh of dry white wine
  • Half a pint of chicken stock
  • 2 small handfuls of cooked chicken
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat the olive oil gently in a sauté pan and add the onions. Cook until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the chopped peppers, chicken stock, garlic and spices. Simmer until the peppers are soft and the liquid reduced.
  3. Add a splosh of dry white wine and the cooked chicken. Stir for a minute and remove from the heat (lid on) for the chicken to warm through. Taste and season if necessary.

We ate this with Basmati rice and authentic pappadums (Daily Bread sells traditional Indian ones that are excellent – 10 for 85p. Just grill or put in the mocrowave).

  Leave a reply


  1. Hi

    At which point did you add the tomatoes?


  2. Hello, nice blog. I just read your recipe and visited your blog for the first time today. I just posted an entry on my blog about chicken curry with a yogurt sauce. Come by and check it out if you can and let me know what you think.



  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Kate,

    Following your instructions I bought ghee at Tesco on Saturday. Can’t wait to try it! Thanks for the tip!

    Hi Rosemary

    I agree that it’s crazy not to give dogs leftovers. Ours seem to wolf down everything.

    Since getting the guinea fowl, the chickens have developed a taste for greens. They are pretty keen on the blackberries that grow beside their run too.

    Oh the joys of the compost heap…

  4. Our dogs eat most of our leftovers the only exception being our 14 year old springer spaniel who now cannot digest lumps of potato and baked beans.The other two,a german shorthaired pointer and yellow labrador eat everything they are given.There is no food waste in our house, the hens have all the potato and other vegetable peelings,cooked, mashed and mixed with layers meal.They also have any outer leaves of green veg and stale bread if it is not required by us for bread and butter pudding or breadcrumbs.The rest is for the compost heap.Friends say “We don’t give our dog’s leftovers in case they upset their stomachs !” No wonder there is so much food sent to landfill !!

  5. Have you tried using ghee for frying when making curry? The most common brand available round here is Plough, it comes in green and gold tins with a picture of a black and white cow standing on green grass surrounded by milk churns- it doesn’t say ghee on it, just the brand name, Plough. Tesco,Sainbury and Asda stock it, probably Morrisons too. It is clarified butter, so not as healthy as olive oil, but the flavour it gives to the food… all nutty and creamy. Especially good for cooking aubergines.

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