I have green tomatoes.
A big bowlful, from very blighted tomato plants. And while some are destined to be fried (and yes, I will watch the movie again), the others landed up in this wonderful curry, laced with chiles and onion, and inspired by my globetrotting friend, Bonbon Oiseau, lately returned from southern India, and then corrupted by my fiddling (the curry, not Bonbon). I don't think green tomatoes are traditional in Coorg.
The sauce is wonderful. The chiles wrap it in green and the tomatoes dissolve eventually into a rich, khaki-coloured gravy. Bonbon's instruction to add vinegar at the end is key. I am a sucker for acid and here it becomes voluptuous, enhancing the richness and throwing the curry into relief. This is one of the nicest things I've eaten in a long while.
This should feed four.
1 medium onion
4 green chiles (I used Serrano)
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced thinly
2 teaspoons pepper
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Whizz up in blender or pound fine in mortar. I whizz.
1 tablespoon coconut or unscented oil
4 chicken legs and thighs, attached if possible
2 medium onions, finely sliced
2 cups quartered green tomatoes
3 cardamom pods
1 cup loosely packed cilantro (stems and leaves, chopped)
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into thick slices or chunks
1 tablespoon vinegar (I used apple cider..authentically Indian)
Heat the oil and brown the chicken in it. Remove the chicken and cook the onions until turning gold - about 8 minutes. Add the wet curry paste and the cardamom pods and stir, allowing some moisture to cook off. Return the chicken to the pot and add enough water to cover. Toss in the tomatoes, cardamom and cilantro. Bring to a boil and lower to a healthy simmer. Cook, uncovered, until the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce - about two hours, stirring from time to time. Add the potatoes after an hour. The vinegar should be added about fifteen minutes before the curry has finished cooking.
We ate this with barley and a side of cumin-pan-roasted caulilfower.