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This is one of those dishes with few ingredients where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, in other words, the depth of flavour achieved with the ingredients is wonderfully surprisingly rich. The sauce is just lots of onion and garlic, slowly fried with the chicken to make a slightly sweet rich moistness which contrasts perfectly with the spiciness of the chilli.

A good chicken is essential for making this successfully. You want a big free range one. You can get the butcher to chop up the whole chicken and cook it all in the curry, but I only use the legs and the plump bits of the wings, saving the more tender breast for another dish.

For 4 servings

legs and wings of a large free range chicken – cut into large pieces leaving the skin on

olive or peanut oil for frying

6 sweet onions

2 bulbs garlic


2 teaspoons ground turmeric

2 teaspoons smoked pimenton picante/ paprika

1 or 2 fresh chillis – finely chopped – it’s hard to be precise about chillis as there are so many different types and strengths, you want the curry to be pretty spicy

freshly ground black pepper

Juice of a fresh lemon

Peel the onions, cut in half and slice them

Peel the garlics – a tip, if you soakthe garlic cloves in water for half an hour the skins become soft and are much easier to peel

crush the garlics in a pestle and mortar with 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Heat 2 or 3 tablespoons of oil in a shallow thick based pan. Add half the onions and all the garlic.

Fry gently for about ten to fifteen minutes until slightly browned.

Add the chicken pieces and cook for ten minutes each side to seal.

Add the turmeric, pimenton and chilli. Stir in well to mix.

Continue cooking the dish slowly uncovered, turn the heat to the lowest possible. Turn the chicken from time to time and stir the onions.

Every half hour add a third of the remaining onions to the pan to continue to moisten the curry, and mix in well.

Half an hour after the last of the onions go in, add the lemon juice and check the seasoning adding freshly ground black pepper and salt as needed.

Leave to cook for another half hour when the curry will be done. Your total cooking time is 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Serve with plain basmati rice and a vegetable dish like broccoli in garlic sauce, the recipe for which I will post tomorrow.