Lily Kwoks Curry

Helen Tse shares her grandmother's recipe for Chinese chicken curry
Lily Kwoks Curry
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the sauce

  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee, (clarified butter)
  • 3 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cm piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 mild fleshy red chillies, seeds removed and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tbsp chilli powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 125 ml water
  • 2 1/2 tsp plain flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp self-raising flour
  • 400 - 500 ml chicken or vegetable stock

For the chicken

  • 3-4 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh peas


1. For the sauce: Heat the oil or ghee in a heavy-based pan or wok over a high heat. Add the onion and stir-fry for 3 minutes, or until starting to soften but not brown. Add the ginger, garlic and chillies and continue stir-frying for 30 seconds, then reduced the heat to very low and leave to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened but nothing browns.

2. Stir in the turmeric, cumin, coriander, chilli powder and curry powder and continue cooking very gently for a further 5 minutes. Dont burn the spices or the sauce will taste acrid; sprinkle on a few drops of water if youre worried. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool a little.

3. Put the water in a food processor or blender and add the contents of the pan. Blend until everything is very smooth, then add both the flours and blend again. Put the puréed mixture back into the pan and simmer for 2030 minutes (the longer the better) over a very low heat, stirring occasionally. Add a little hot water if it starts to catch, but the idea is to gently fry the sauce so that it darkens in colour to an orangey brown. Once you have a thick paste, gradually stir in the stock and simmer until the curry sauce has reduced.

4. For the chicken: season the cornflour with salt and pepper to taste, and toss the chicken strips in this to coat them. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the chicken pieces and stir-fry for a couple of minutes until they turn white. Add the onion and peas and stir-fry for a further few minutes, then stir in the curry sauce and heat until everything is piping hot. Serve immediately.

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