For the spice mix:
Toast all the dry seeds together in a pan. Do not add any oil when frying as you want to natural oils of the spices to be released. When a slight dry smoke wafts up from the pan and you can smell the pungency of the spices, remove from the heat. Place the spices in a mortar and pestle and crush until fine or for a finer texture, mill in a coffee grinder.
For the curry:
Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown the chicken pieces in batches until they are well coloured on both sides. Season with salt and pepper, remove from the pan and set aside. Heat a little oil in the same pan and sauté the onion and garlic until softened. This should take about 7 minutes. Add the chilli, garam masala, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and sugar. Cook the spices and onions together for a minute or two and then deglaze the pan with a splash of water. Scrape the spice mix into a blender and blitz to form a paste.
Add the chicken back into the pan and stir in the paste mixture. Cook for several minutes so that the spicy paste coats the chicken. Stir in the tomatoes and coconut milk. Place the lid on and simmer on a medium heat for approximately 35 -40 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
To make the caramelized bananas, slice a just ripe, but slightly firm banana in half. Brush with melted butter and dunk, cut side down, into brown sugar. Caramelize in a hot pan until tender and sticky. Serve whole and scoop out as a topping for the curry.
As with most curries, this Cape Malay curry will taste even better the following day as the flavours mature.
Recipe reprinted with permission of Bibby's Kitchen@36. To see more recipes, please click here.