“No Chicken” Chinese Takeaway Style Chicken Curry

August 5, 2021

The title is taken from the last text on the subject “what do you fancy for dinner?” The reply came as “chicken” – no due diligence for what I was supposed to do with said fowl. My immediate response was “Have we any?”, to wit came an emphatic, “yes!”

I set about drafting a ‘one size fits all’ generic curry (of the chicken kind) recipe, to satisfy the working classes, after a heavy day in the various salt mines. Deciding upon a ‘Chinese’ style, because its a safe bet in this house. Mildish curry, full of flavour & goes nicely with the obligatory “‘alf ‘n’ ‘alf”!

As I entered the larder and began my forage in the ‘meat freezer’, I turned to “Pablo the Super Pug” and uttered a paraphrase of that other doomed explorer, Captain Lawrence Oates ( see Scott of the Antarctic) – “I’m going inside Boy. I maybe some time!”

Like the heroic captain, I too, though noble in my attempt, failed dismally in my quest. Pork, beef, fish and all manner meat alternatives, but no pieces of poultry. I almost did what Chris Bonington did on Everest according to the commercials – “We boiled up snow and ice to make hot beefy Bovril”, feeling the cold somewhat & craving an oxo beef tea (mmm oxo!!!).

At last I settled upon a half kilo bag of diced lean steak and set about making my “no chicken” chicken curry.


  • 500g diced meat (chicken, beef etc)
  • ‘Traffic light’ bell peppers deseeded & coarsely chopped (red, orange & green)
  • 1 green Chilli pepper deseeded and chopped finely
  • 1 large onion diced finely
  • 1 clove of garlic thinly sliced
  • 1/2 inch of root ginger minced
  • 1 courgette cut into small chunks
  • 100g fresh Samphire (thoroughly rinsed) – chopped finely as it is coming to the end of its season and is becoming a little ‘woody’ but you DO NOT ADD ANY SALT as the Samphire gives adequate saltiness.
  • 2 large carrots peeled and julienne.
  • 250g passata (or chopped tomatoes blitzed)
  • Kettle of boiled water on standby
  • 2tbsp mild curry powder
  • 2tbsp Turmeric
  • 2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 4 Cardamon pods crushed


  • In a deep thick pan with a good lid, start by braising the beef for about 5 minutes until cooked on the outside.
  • Add the onions, garlic and ginger, combining well, then covering with the pan lid for a further 3 minutes or so.
  • Add the carrots, toss and cover for another 3 minutes.
  • Add the passata and mix well.
  • If needed add a little hot water.
  • Now add the peppers, courgettes & samphire.
  • Reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Add more water if the curry looks a little dry.
  • Simmer for 15 minutes approximately then remove the heat but leave the pan to continue cooking using the residual heat.
  • Gently re-warm in the pan when required.

Serve with your favourite rice (mine’s garlic at the moment) & air fried skin-on chips for that fakeaway experience.


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