Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Simply Curry Chicken




Curry Chicken

photo from Food Network.com

Curry is widely known on chicken, but islanders curry everything!  From yams and potatoes to goat meat or oxtail, the only thing that doesn’t curry well is dairy products.  For our recipe we will be using Chicken Thighs and sweet potato.

For starters, let’s make a simple curry powder.  Forget the prefabbed bottle you have had rusting on your spice rack since you bought it on a whim.  Go to the store and buy the following five spices in bulk (you will be thanking me later!):
  • Turmeric (ground)
  • Cardamom (ground)
  • Coriander (whole)
  • Allspice (ground)
  • Cumin (ground)
These are your core curry spices for a true Caribbean sabor.  The proportions are EASY!  Add 1 Tablespoon of each spice to about 1/2 cup of heated canola oil in a deep pot.  Let the spices cook down until they turn a lovely bright GREEN color, not the yellow you are used to from the old stuff.

To jazz up your curry, add in some scotch bonnets for heat, or for a milder more kid friendly version, add in a pinch of crushed red pepper. Now you’ve got your spice ready, let’s play with the main course!

Rembrandt’s Curry Chicken from Paradise Point
  • 2 pounds skinless chicken thighs with bone in
  • Curry as prepared above
  • 2 and 3/4 cups water
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  1. Start the curry as directed above.
  2. When the oil is sizzling, add in your chicken and potatoes.  Make sure that the thighs are placed bone-up for maximum browning of the meat.
  3. Cover the chicken and potatoes with water and place lid tightly on the pot.
  4. Simmer over medium heat for about 1 hour, until the chicken is moist and cooked completely and the potatoes are softened.
  5. Serve over a bed of white rice and save the stock for dipping bowls to get all that great Caribbean flavor.
Makes 8 servings

**Cook’s Tip:  Don’t throw out your stock!  Leave the leftover sweet potatoes in the pot, and toss in some carrots, celery, and any leftover rice for a savory soup!  Freezes well up to 6 months or is excellent canned.


My husband Rembrandt grew up in the West Indies.  Born in St. Thomas to parents of German and Californian descent, he learned to appreciate not only the traditional foods of his family, but the great local cuisine of the Caribbean.  Scotch bonnet pepper pots, homemade ginger beer, and red beans with rice and fungee were all staples of his early diet.

Fortunately for him, he married me, and I love to cook.  So learning some of his comfort foods was a pleasure for me, and curry is West Indian for love on a plate.  Spice is embedded into the culture of the islands, whether you like it mild or so fiery it blows your mind.  You can’t escape it, and why would you want to when there are so many great flavors to wake up the sleeping palate?

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