Leftover Chicken Curry

Sometimes, there are leftovers (although if you live in a house like ours it might be a rarity). Mr Hangry Em and I cooked a pretty beautiful roast chicken for Easter lunch, and held back on devouring the whole thing so we could try and stretch it out for a few meals. Shameless plug here: click here for my roast chicken recipe… guaranteed golden, juicy skin you’ll be sneaking into your mouth whilst you carve.

Just like a turkey curry follows after Christmas Day dinner, a chicken curry follows a roast chicken. I usually spend some time trying to find a curry paste recipe to start me off, but felt a bit ballsy and came up with my own, figuring out my own selection of quantities and measurements. For a first try I am pretty happy with the results, and the whole dish was polished off by the two of us fairly quickly.

I’m also going to boldly claim that left-over shredded roast chicken might be better in a curry than cooking it fresh. The meat is already tender and moist, and it almost poaches in the curry sauce whilst it’s reheating. It also cuts the time cooking this meal down dramatically, which is always a win on a Monday evening.

Album to cook to: ‘Live at the Harlem Square Club’, Sam Cooke (a different experience from his usual recordings, in the best way)

Recipe feeds 2

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes


5 cardamon pods
6 curry leaves
2 large tomatoes, chopped into large dice
400ml coconut milk
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 tsp tamarind (mine was high concentration)
400g-500g shredded cooked chicken (whatever you have, chuck it in)

For the paste:
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
6 black pepper corns
3 dried red chillis, rehydrated in boiling water for 15 minutes (save the water!)
2 cloves of garlic
3 cm ginger
1/2 tsp dried fenugreek
Olive oil


Put your black peppercorns, cumin, coriander and fennel seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium to high heat, and toast them for a few minutes. You will need to keep them moving to make sure they don’t burn. When it all starts getting very aromatic remove from the heat and tip into a pestle and mortar with a large pinch of salt, and grind down to a powder (or get your sous chef to, thanks Mr Hangry Em). Chop the garlic and ginger, slice the red chillis, and add to the pestle, pounding them into a paste. Add in the dried fenugreek and a drizzle of olive oil, and stir into the paste.

In a shallow casserole or sauce pan, heat some oil over a medium heat and add in your diced onion, sweating it gently for 5 minutes or so. Slightly crush the cardamon pods and add these, along with the curry leaves into the pan, allowing them to fry alongside the onions for a few minutes before adding your curry paste. With your spatula, help the curry paste break down into the onions and oil, cooking for 2-3 minutes. The smell should be pretty spectacular right about now.

Turn up the heat to medium-high, and scoop in your diced tomatoes, along with their juices, into the pan. I like to also add in about 200ml of the water left over from hydrating the chilli’s, as it helps the tomatoes to break down into the curried onion mixture. Cook the tomatoes for 5 minutes (or until the water has evaporated), and then pour in the coconut milk, stirring it into the tomatoes and onions. Cook for a few minutes, and then add in a tablespoon of tomato puree, and the half teaspoon of tamarind concentrate. Stir together and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and place a lid on the pan for 10 minutes to allow the ingredients to get to know each other a bit better. Don’t panic if your curry looks pale… the sauce will develop and deepen in colour.

Grab your left over chicken and chop it into large, bite-sized pieces, and stir it into the sauce (which should now be looking lovely). Simmer the chicken in the covered pan for 5 minutes, and then turn the heat up, removing the lid for the last 5 minutes. Stir in some freshly chopped coriander (if you have it), and serve with rice. Mr Hangry Em is forced to make chapatis every time we have a curry now… a special edition recipe will be coming!

Yassss, thou shalt never be hangry again!

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