I haven't felt like cooking as much as I usually do and we've been eating out more the last few days, as I go through my routine in auto-pilot mode; schoolwork with my boys, cleaning, washing, laundry, writing when I can, distracted and slightly off kilter, wondering about how hubby would reintegrate with us after eight years apart.

Yesterday, my boys finally put their collective foot down and demanded something home made, and how, oh how, does a mother refuse a plea as plaintive as "please mummy, not McDonald's again....even cup noodles will do, but not another burger!" ?

I rooted about the kitchen, which was not as well stocked as usual and decided to make this simple curry which I seem to settle on whenever no one can decide what should be for lunch or dinner. I find anyone who normally objects to curry, will quite happily eat this one. Maybe it's the tender, boneless chunks of chicken or perhaps the not too pungent aroma coupled with sweet baby peas in a velvety gravy. Whatever the case, this makes a delicious and unfussy all-in-one meal for the busy or mentally unavailable.

The curry powder I use is a Madras style mix of spices for poultry or meat and is quite hot. Use your favourite mix and adjust the amount to your liking or tolerance. When cutting the chicken and potatoes, bear in mind that the smaller you cut them, the faster they cook.

Scoops of this over steaming white rice, went down a treat, after days of burgers and food court fare. Cup noodles for my babies? As if I ever would.....

Prep 10 mins                Cook 30 mins               Serves 3 - 4

2 medium onions, peeled and cut into chunks
5 cloves garlic, peeled
5 cm (2 inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thickly sliced
3 Tbsp curry powder
5 cm (2 inch) piece cinnamon stick
6 cardamom pods
4 fat cloves
600 g boneless chicken chunks (1 medium chicken yields this amount or use ready boned thighs)
2 generous Tbsp plain, unsweetened thick yogurt
1 1/2 teacups water
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes as big as the chicken pieces
100 g (1 teacup) frozen baby peas
Sea salt to taste


Process onions, garlic, ginger and curry powder to a smooth paste using as little water as possible.

Heat 4 - 5 Tbsp of light vegetable oil in a deep pan or pot until fairly hot. Add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and cloves to the oil and swirl around until fragrant, taking care that they don't burn.

Pour in the ground spice mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until fragrant and oil seeps out from the mixture.

Add the chicken and cook, stirring and turning for about 3 minutes until coated with the spices.

Stir in the yogurt then add the water. Stir, bring to a boil then lower heat, cover pot and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the potatoes, stir in then cover and cook another 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender but still holding their shape.

Stir in peas and simmer for 2 - 3 minutes. Season to taste then turn off heat. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) if you like and serve immediately with rice or flat bread.