Heat half the oil in a large sauté pan and add the spices over a medium heat. Stir well for a few minutes, then add the garlic and ginger, stir again for a minute and then take off the heat. Set aside.
In a separate pan, heat the remaining oil and brown the chicken on all sides, in batches. Add to the spice mix in the sauté pan as you go. Gently cook the onions for 5 minutes and add to the chicken. Pour in the coconut milk, tamarind and curry leaves. Bring to the boil, then simmer slowly for 1 hour.
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