‘Pukka’ is an Indian word for the real deal or authenticity, hence the name of this dish. It’s not because I’m a cocky Essex boy, nor, as some not-so-nice journalists once said, because of my annoying ‘estuary accent’ (whatever that means). Anyway, this curry is delicious – the meat falls off the bone, it’s great value and it looks phenomenal.
Peel the onions, garlic and ginger and deseed the peppers. Put 1 onion, 1 pepper, the garlic and ginger into a food processor. Crumble in the stock cube and add the chilli (deseed it first, if you prefer a milder curry), the coriander stalks, honey and spices, then blitz to a paste.
Place a large casserole pan on a medium-high heat and fry the chicken drumsticks (pull the skin off first, if you prefer) with a splash of oil for 10 minutes, or until golden, turning occasionally with tongs. Remove the chicken to a plate, leaving the pan on the heat. Roughly chop the remaining onion and pepper and add to the pan to cook for a few minutes, then tip in the paste and let it cook down for around 5 minutes. Pour in 500ml of boiling water. Drain the chickpeas and add along with the tomato purée and a pinch of salt and pepper, then stir well. Return the chicken to the pan, pop the lid on, reduce the heat and simmer gently for around 45 minutes, or until the sauce darkens and thickens.
With 15 minutes to go, put 1 mug (320g) of rice and 2 mugs of boiling water into a pan with a pinch of salt and simmer with the lid on for 12 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Serve the curry in the middle of the table with a few dollops of yoghurt (if using) and a scattering of coriander leaves, with lemon wedges for squeezing over and the fluffy rice on the side.