Monday, November 05, 2007

Chicken Curry Inna Hurry

HA! No such thing, SUCKA!!! But, I give you my best effort at remembering my mom's curried chicken recipe straight from Trinidad & Tobago (by way of London, Lagos, Brooklyn, Nashville, Detroit...)! It has served me well in impressing dates, cheering friends, and smiting enemies (...with the 'itis!). Enjoy this rendition. If I had any readers, I'd worry that some of you would comment on how your mama has a better recipe and blah, blah, blah, but since I know that you're not out there, eat a habanero fool! Love, peace, and curried chicken grease!!!

Curried Chicken (serving 3-4)


  • 1 whole cut up chicken (bone in) – if leaving skin on, try to use less oil: better with skin off
  • 2-3 tbsp yellow curry powder (Avoid the “generics” – Durkee, Spice Island, etc.. You want de real ting, neh mahn! Go to your local “ethnic shop” – Indian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, SouthEast Asian, or whatever passes in your area these days – and get what they’re selling. No, if you live in Weymouth and the shopkeep's from Holbrook, that doesn't count!)
  • 0.5-1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2-3 celery stalks chopped or celery seeds
  • 4-6 Idaho potatoes – skinned and cut into 8ths
  • 1 red pepper chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper chopped
  • Chopped white mushroom (optional)
  • 1 tsp. of habanero or scotch bonnet pepper sauce or 1 whole habanero or scotch bonnet pepper (optional)
  • 1 whole medium onion chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (crushed) or 2-3 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1-2 spring onions
  • Optional Seasonings: Thyme, marjoram, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, chives, salt, paprika, red pepper, bay leaf (?-maybe 1)


  1. Prepare ingredients listed above (cut, chop, skin, dice, grind, etc…)
  2. Pre-season chicken with: Worcestershire Sauce, 1 tbsp curry powder, 1 tsp ground cumin, onion powder and/or garlic powder, light celery salt, and optional seasonings.
    Place in container seal and shake around a few times.
    Preseason up to day before, leaving seasoning chicken in fridge.
  3. In large pot, heat oil (olive or canola or whichever) just covering bottom of pot.
    Ready when piece of onion or celery dropped in sizzles immediately.
  4. Add garlic and celery to the pot and heat in until you begin to smell them strongly.
  5. Depending on size of chicken and amount of oil in pan, add 2-3 tbsp. of curry powder and 1 tbsp or less of cumin to heated oil and stir in thoroughly with oil (until mostly dissolved, oil deep yellow, and you smell the spices).
  6. Add the onion, red pepper, yellow pepper, mushrooms, and optional seasonings and mix thoroughly.
  7. Add chicken parts to heated oil.
  8. Stir frequently.
  9. Watch for chicken pieces to turn mostly white on outside.
  10. Meanwhile: Boil kettle full of water.
  11. Add cut potatoes to pot.
  12. Add up to 2 cups of boiling water.
  13. Stir ingredients together and watch sauce thickness. Want it to be gravy or thick soup-like, not thin. If too thin, add potato, or mix cold water and corn starch, potato starch, or wheat flower to thicken.
  14. Add whole habanero or scotch bonnet to curry.
    Fish out when just beginning to soften. Keep a sharp eye out! DO NOT allow the pepper to burst, otherwise it will ruin dish.
    If using pepper sauce, add by the drops, stir in and taste frequently to make sure not adding too much.
  15. Taste frequently, adding pepper, salt or other seasonings to adjust taste to your liking.
  16. Cook partially covered for 10 minutes.
  17. Check chicken and add time if not yet cooked through.

Goes well with:

  • Fried plantain (like frying French fries. – until golden brown each side)
  • Curried Chick peas – roughly same steps above:
    Reduce the ingredients in accordance with size of can of chick peas.
    Skip pre-seasoning and habanero/pepper sauce steps.
    Drain can of chick peas before adding to oil!
  • Plain white rice
  • Okra and rice
    Boil rice with 1-2 chopped okra per 2 cups rice, and pieces of ham (ham w/bone preferred if available) and pepper to taste
  • Roti – you’ll have to buy this from a shop. There may be some Trini’s in your town if you're lucky. Maybe not. We're everywhere...just like us Nigerians. (Wait a second. Did I just refer to myself in the second person, plural? Separately? Twice? What would that be, the fourth person triplicate???)
  • Curried string beans (see chick peas).

Bon apetit!