Smoked Chicken & Bamboo Shoot Curry

Smoked chicken & bamboo shoot curry

This curry is made with a twist on the traditional daono hain hon/chicken curry thickened with rice flour. Bamboo shoots are popular with pork and chicken but in this case I decided to use the shoots and thicken the gravy with rice flour. I have a weakness for smoked meat products. Even smoked sausages taste so much better!
As for smoking the chicken, I did it in my backyard yesterday. It took about two and a half  hours but it was worth the effort. The smell of freshly-smoked meat is indeed, heavenly….The fresh bamboo shoots were sliced and soaked overnight. Fermenting the shoots is a popular way of using the shoots but soaking them overnight brings about a slight difference in taste and texture. The shoots were then boiled and drained. It’s better if the water is squeezed out as certain varieties tend to be slightly bitter. So, not taking any chances.

800 grams smoked chicken cut into regular pieces
About 400 grams bamboo shoots (see above for details)
3 onions, grated
1 thumb-size ginger, grated
7-8 cloves of garlic, crushed and made into a rough paste
1 tsp coarsely pounded hot chilli powder
8-10 green chillies scored lengthwise, seeds intact
2 tbs coriander powder
1 tbs freshly ground black pepper
A quarter tsp turmeric, (adjustments can be made)
5-6 Indian bay leaves
2 star anise
3 tbs mustard oil
Salt to taste
3 heaped tbs rice flour
Ginger leaves or serrated coriander for the garnish

*Heat the mustard oil in a pan. When it comes to smoking point add the bay leaves and the star anise.
*Add the green chillies, onions, ginger and garlic. Cook till the colour changes. 
*Now add the chilli powder, turmeric, and coriander powder. Stir.
*Add the chicken pieces as well as the bamboo shoots. Keep stirring in between.
*Season with salt and add the coarsely ground pepper.
*It will take about 25-30 minutes before the mixture comes together.
*Add about three cups of hot water and let it come to the boil. Check the seasoning. It does not matter if at this point it feels a little too spicy/a little too salty. The thickening agent will take care of it.
*Now add the rice flour and give it a good stir ensuring that no lumps remain.
*Take it off the heat and transfer to a serving dish.
*Garnish with the chopped herbs.

No marination for the meat is necessary in the preparation of this dish. The most prominent flavour will come from the smoked ingredient. Even if fewer spices are used in this curry, it will still taste good!

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