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There was a wee phase when I lived back in the UK many moons ago that a Chicken Pathia was the only thing I ordered from an Indian menu… Not because I didn’t like or understand the other stuff but purely and simply it was my favourite thing on any menu. As with all phases they pass but a chicken pathia remains one of my favourite dishes, fabulously spicy and with a distinct sweet and sour vibe. I started working this recipe after my first trip back to the UK a number of years ago, of course one of the first things we did was to go out for a curry and this was what I ordered, so when we returned to Hungary this was a dish I new I had to recreate. Naturally Google was my first port of call and low and behold every recipe I found was different and after trying a few new that I would be creating my own new recipe as well as none of what I found sounded or even tasted like what I know as a chicken pathia.
Apparently this dish is of Gujarati and Persian origin but as you know by now I am never driven by authenticity but by what make my belly smile, so I kinda took the basis of a pathia, a spicy, sweet and sour curry with at tomato based sauce and built it up from a experiments and memories. As I mentioned in my Chicken Balti recipe, Indian restaurants in the UK usually start with a base sauce and build from there, sure this is for convenience and I will always build a new sauce but the cooking method leads to a distinctive style in terms of texture so as ever this was my base point for this and most of my British Indian Restaurant style dishes. My Eureka moment with this chicken pathia recipe came with the addition of mango chutney as the sweet element and I have no idea where it came from. I tried all sorts of sweet elements from sugar and honey through to jaggery and never got anything quite so good as this, the combination of the sweetness and fruitiness is perfect, naturally the recipe will change flavour depending on your mango chutney but that is all part of the magic. I do on occasions make my own but we are not exactly overwhelmed by fresh mango here in central Europe so tend to go with shop bought but hell it is a great excuse for a taste test, stock up on poppadoms 😀
Chicken Pathia: Sweet and Sour Indian Curry
The usual habitat for a chicken pathia seems to be a British curry house, I think this fiery sweet and sour number with Gujarati leanings should be shown a lot more love.
1TbspGhee.Sub for butter or neutral cooking oil.
1TbspGhee.Sub for butter or neutral cooking oil.
350gChicken.2cm dice, I personally prefer thigh but breast would work too.
1TbspDried Fenugreek Leaves.
Salt to Taste.
Cut the onion in half and peel, roughly chop half and place in a blender with the garlic cloves and blitz, using just enough water to form a smooth paste.
Take the second half of the onion and slice into 8 wedges and set aside.
Heat the ghee over a medium high heat and when warm add the asafoetida and chili flakes and cook for 30 seconds.
Now add in the onion and garlic paste, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
Stir in the turmeric and cumin, stir and cook for 60 seconds before adding the tamarind pulp, tomato paste and mango chutney.
Now throw in the bay leaf, cardamom pods and lime juice, check seasoning and add salt as required and allow to simmer for 15 minutes over a low heat.
After the sauce has been simmering for 10 minutes, heat the second tablespoon of ghee in another pan over a medium high heat and when hot add the chicken and remaining onion from step 1 then cook moving occasionally for 3-4 minutes.
Add in the fenugreek leaves and ground cumin and cook for a further minute or so and then transfer to the sauce and simmer until cooked with a lid on, this should take a further 5-10 minutes.
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