It is a common habit in Goa to add either palm or cashew feni liqueur to meat dishes. As feni is not available in the UK, I have used dark rum instead. This is still quite authentic, as India is one of the world’s largest producers of rum.
CHICKEN LEGS 6–8, with skin, chopped in half through the bone
SALT 1 teaspoon, plus extra to taste (optional)
FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER
½ teaspoon, plus extra to taste (optional)
SUNFLOWER, GROUNDNUT OR EXTRA VIRGIN
RAPESEED OIL 4 tablespoons
RED ONIONS 2, chopped
BUTTERNUT SQUASH 500g (1lb 2oz), deseeded and cut into 5cm (2in) cubes
WAXY POTATOES, 2–3 large, cut into 4cm (1½in) pieces
COCONUT MILK 1 × 400ml (14fl oz) can, well shaken
CHICKEN STOCK 500ml (18fl oz)
TAMARIND PASTE OR PULP 1 tablespoon, or to taste, as some tamarind preparations are very strong
BAY LEAVES 3
DARK RUM 1½–2 tablespoons
LIME JUICE from ½ lime
CHOPPED FRESH CORIANDER 1–2 tablespoons (optional)
STEAMED OR BOILED RICE to serve (optional)
FOR THE MARINADE
GROUND TURMERIC ¼ teaspoon
GROUND CORIANDER 2 teaspoons
BLACK MUSTARD SEEDS 1 teaspoon
GARLIC 4 cloves, roughly chopped
FRESH GREEN CHILLIES 2–3 finger-type, coarsely chopped
SEA SALT 1 teaspoon
Combine all the marinade ingredients in a blender with a little water and whiz to a smooth paste.
Put the chicken in a bowl, rub in the salt and pepper, then stir in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2–3 hours.
When you’re ready to start cooking, heat half the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan or flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat. Scrape the excess marinade off the chicken pieces, reserving it for later. Sauté the meat for 3–4 minutes on each side, turning regularly until browned all over. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
Heat the remaining oil in the empty pan, then add the onions and sauté for about 6–8 minutes, until soft.
Add the squash and potatoes and sauté for 5–7 minutes, stirring regularly, until just soft and pale golden brown.
Add the reserved marinade to the pan and stir well to coat the vegetables. Cook for another 3–4 minutes, stirring often, until the spices are fragrant.
Return the browned chicken to the pan and add the coconut milk, chicken stock, tamarind paste or pulp (a bit at a time, tasting as you go) and the bay leaves. Stir well and bring the mixture to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer until reasonably thick, then pour in the rum. Cover the pan and simmer for 20–30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and the sauce has thickened. At that point, gently stir in the lime juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Sprinkle with the chopped coriander if you like.
Serve with steamed or boiled rice, if liked.
Mr Todiwala’s Spice Box is available here.