This dish is a staple in our household. Growing up, we had it at least once a week, often twice. It’s my brother’s favourite dish, and as grown-ups it’s comfort food for us. My dad first taught me how to make it, so it’s got an Iraqi flair to it as well. Over the years, though, as I got better at cooking and experimenting, I changed things. Dad now requests this curry — definitely a proud moment!
You will need:
500g chopped chicken (thighs)
10-12 baby potatoes or 3 regular ones
500g okra (frozen definitely works too)
2 red onions, diced
4 tomatoes, diced
2 lemons, squeezed
1 whole bulb of garlic
Sunflower or olive oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 stock cube
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp chili
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
Brown off your onions in some oil, then add all the spices. Cook off for a few minutes to get rid of the powdery taste.
Add your chicken and brown it, but don’t worry about cooking it through. Once brown, add your tomatoes and mix. Once they start to wilt a little, add your potatoes. Stir it through to ensure everything is picking up the flavour from the spices and onions.
Add your okra, then the garlic head, slicing the top off a little to let out the flavour. Crumble the stock cube over the top and submerge completely with water. Yes, it will look like a lot of water, but it’ll reduce. Add your tomato paste and salt.
Stir it through and bring it to a low-medium heat. Ideally, leave it for at least 30 to 45 minutes. First 20 minutes with the lid on, then take the lid off. Once you take the lid off, add your lemon juice and taste, then add more salt if needed.
Serve with a side of rice or flatbread, or eat it plain (potatoes provide your carbs). When I made this for a friend, I made it with crispy rice (hikaak). When I serve this out, it’s always, always family style. The garlic is pulled out and each clove is squeeze out and enjoyed. For me, this makes the whole dish and this is why it’s my family recipe. I’ve never seen anyone use a whole garlic anywhere else.
As always, bilafiya (well wishes and wellbeing)