This recipe hailing from Chef Senthil, whom I've had the pleasure of cooking with at the Gourmandise in Santa Monica, is as authentic as Indian curry gets. It encourages the use of whole spices because that is one of the trademark ways of getting an authentic flavor in Indian dishes. It is still okay to use ground spice powders as stated in the recipe, but I highly recommend using as many whole spices as possible. Much easier to make than expected and I hope you enjoy! —Ellie Betzen
Heat the oil in the medium large pot over medium fire. When the oil is hot drop cinnamon stick and whole cloves, stirring for about 30 seconds with a wooden spoon. Add the fennel seeds and curry leaves without burning them. Right after, add onions and saute until they are translucent and soft.
***For the ginger garlic paste, you can process 4 cloves of garlic and 3 thumbs' worth of peeled ginger together. This will be good for about two uses, so use half for this recipe, seal the remainder in a small container and refrigerate for next time. You can also grind it together in a mortar which is preferable.***
Now add the ginger garlic paste to the pot until the strong aroma is apparent. Add all the other spices, salt, and stir over medium fire for about 2 minutes, maybe a little less if you perceive the spice powders are browning too much. Add the chicken, sliced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water, and stir thoroughly. Keep stirring every now and then so as to not let the ingredients stick to the bottom of the pot and the water has thickened and reduced to almost half. Add yogurt at the end and remove the pot from the stove.