Recipe: Vicki Ravlich-Horan | Photography: Ashlee deCaires
An undoubtable influence on the cuisine in Fiji, which sets it apart from other Pacific Islands, is that of the Indians. Now referred to as Indo Fijian, Indian people have been part of Fiji for over 130 years. Originally brought over by the British as indentured servants, Fijians of Indian descent account for nearly 40% of the Fijian population, and so it is unsurprising their food is now entrenched in the culture, and a good place to see this is in the markets.
While at Nadi Market, we were enticed by the spice stalls, and I left with a pouch of specially blended masala which I intend to reserve for a few of the dishes we discovered in Fiji, and this is one of them.
The original recipe for this curry (from Flavours of Fiji) used a whole chicken chopped into smaller pieces, and while chicken cooked on the bone has more flavour, I have found chicken thigh is quicker while still giving you flavoursome and moist chicken.
Having said that you can replace the chicken with eggplant for a vegetarian version.
1kg chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
1 onion, sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil
1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
1 heaped tsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp turmeric
3 tbsp masala
1-2 tsp chilli powder (optional)
3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into medium sized cubes
½ cup water
fresh coriander to garnish
Chop chicken thighs into thirds.
In a medium size pot, heat up oil, add onion, seeds and tomatoes. Stir and cook for a minute then add minced garlic together with the turmeric, masala and chilli powder. Stir and cook for another minute before adding the potato, water and salt. Cover and reduce the heat to medium. After 10 minutes add the chicken, stir and replace the lid, cooking for another 15 minutes or until the potato is soft and chicken cooked through. If there is too much liquid, remove the lid in the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Serve garnished with fresh coriander accompanied with rice and roti.