4tbsps vegetable oil
2 onions, finely chopped
5g (1tsp) finely grated root ginger (peeled weight)
5 large garlic cloves, finely grated
3 large vine tomatoes (400g/14oz), blended until smooth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¾tsp ground cinnamon, or to taste
2tsp garam masala (fresh if possible)
½tsp ground turmeric
¼tsp chilli powder, or to taste
1 rounded tsp ground cumin
6-8 medium-small skinless bone-in chicken thighs (1.25-1.3kg/2lb 12oz-3lb in total)
Handful of coriander
Large handful of crispy potato salli (Crispy fried potato straws) – recipe below
Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft. Then increase the heat and cook, stirring often, until golden brown. Add the ginger and garlic and cook gently for 1 minute, or until the garlic smells cooked.
Pour in the blended tomatoes, then add the seasoning and all the ground spices. Cook down until the masala releases oil, about 15-20 minutes. Taste – it should be harmonious. Tip the chicken into the masala along with a good splash of water. Bring to the boil, then cover, reduce the heat and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Give the pot occasional stirs as it cooks and check that there is enough water in the pan. At this stage you can make the crispy potato salli.
Taste and adjust the seasoning and consistency of the sauce, which should have a light, creamy consistency. If it is too watery, cook over a high heat until thickened to your liking, or add some water from a boiling kettle to loosen a little. Stir in the coriander, sprinkle with crispy potato salli and serve.
Crispy potato salli
Parsis love these delicate, crunchy potato straws. Needless to say they are really moreish and work very well with the flavours of the Parsi salli chicken. You can make these a day or two before.
2 large potatoes
Vegetable oil, as needed
Chilli powder (optional)
Peel the potatoes, slice thinly widthways, then line up some of the circles and slice into short matchsticks. (To slice my potato, I use the slicer on my box grater.) However you do it, try to slice them evenly. Place on a dish towel and pat dry.
Heat 7.5cm (3in) of oil in a wide, deep saucepan or in a deep-fat fryer to a medium heat (dip a shred of potato in: it should sizzle). Add the potatoes in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook over a medium heat until the potatoes are crispy and golden. You will need to carefully separate any clumps that stick together with a fork quite early on. Each batch will take 2-3 minutes. Remove using a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Repeat to cook the rest.
Sprinkle over salt and chilli powder to taste and toss well to combine.