Priya’s Chicken Masala

This is not so much a recipe, but rather a guide to using local dynamo Priya Tailor’s (of Priya’s Kitchen) home-made masala paste. As some of you might know, Priya is the woman behind the pop-ups that everyone is talking about, and the maker of the Fiday night curry take-aways that some of you might have had the joy to experience. I recently had the pleasure of taking part in one of her cooking classes and most recently trying her curry paste. All of my run-ins with Priya have been incredible, I’m a massive fan and I will admit that hands-down, she is the best home-cook I’ve ever met. Every single dish I try, and the fact that she could replicate it at a cooking class, and that I could replicate it at home using her curry paste all points to the indistibutable fact that she has extraordinary culinary skill and judgement. The fact that she also happens to be a super nice, genuinely passionate and enthusiastic person who can light up any room, also plays a big role in her success.

Pataks’ korma paste is a known quantity, I know everyone likes it, it’s not too spicy and I can make it work. But new flavours and sauces are tenuous ground when cooking for a family, so I had to wait for the right moment to ‘try something new’ with the boys. It’s called a ‘masala paste’ because ‘masala’ just means a blend of spices and this is Priya’s own blend.  From the time I rubbed some of the paste into the chicken thighs to marinate, to when it was gently simmering on the hob, I knew this meal was going to eclipse the Pataks promise of a good curry. Priya’s masala paste is next level. I don’t know quite what she does or how she does it (well she did show us at the cooking class but I’ve totally forgotten) but the depth and quality of aroma and flavour was like nothing I’ve ever bought or made. There’s a uniqueness to Priya’s curry paste that you simply won’t get from the supermarket shelf. This is the ultimate cheat’s way to an authentic curry at home.  You don’t have to marinate the meat, you don’t have to use chicken, and you can buy the best, fresh naan and good quality basmati rice at Gordon Stores in Maidenhead. Here’s what I did…

Priya’s Chicken Curry

1 x jar of Priya’s Masala Paste
1 x onion, roughly chopped
1kg chicken thighs on the bone, skin removed
1 chicken stock pod
1/2 a can of coconut cream or evaporated milk
Juice of half a lemon
1 x small bunch of coriander, chopped
Rice, naan, greens…

Sear the chicken and paste on high heat in some oil, in a large pan or pot. Keep it cooking until the paste starts to the stick to the base and you think maybe it’s going to start burning.
Then pour in enough water to cover the chicken, and pop in your stock pod. Simmer until the chicken is cooked, which could be half an hour, but cooking it as long as you can will result in better, richer flavours.
Once you’re sure the chicken is cooked, turn it down to low and put your rice on.
Once your rice is cooked, steam your greens (I used green beans and peas) and bring the chicken back up to a simmer, now add the milk, lemon juice and coriander. Don’t boil it from this point, or the milk will split.
Once everything is ready to go, serve it all up on a plate.