I grew up eating curry since my grandmother and mother both cooked it all the time. Now that my grandmother is 99 years old (yes, she’s half a year shy from hitting her Centennial birthday!) my cousins and I have been trying to replicate many of her authentic and cultural recipes in our own home kitchens. And one, in particular, is curry.
While there has been some debate over the ingredients along with technique and measurements (my grandmother only ever measured by taste, feel, and instinct) we all have our own variations. Last year, my mother gave me with a great base recipe, a combination of my grandmother’s tips and her recipe, and I have been adjusting that with minor modifications each time I make it. No one in my family, myself included, has yet been able to perfectly replicate our grandmother’s recipe. But I’m confident enough to share my version with readers who are looking for an authentic, West Indian-style curry.
Note that while this recipe includes chicken, which is my favourite protein to add, you can make it with any protein of your choosing, like beef or shrimp. You could also make it vegetarian by including only potatoes or even add vegetables instead of meat or poultry. I usually serve chicken curry with rice or, if I’m feeling particularly ambitious, homemade roti. Make no mistake: this is cold day outside comfort food, not a dish you want to count calories with!
Before delving into the recipe, here’s a rundown of the tools you’ll need to make chicken curry, most of which you should already have in your kitchen.
Some things to keep in mind when making chicken curry
Chicken thighs are preferred
I have used both chicken breasts and chicken thighs for this recipe and while both work fine, you get much better flavour and a more tender texture from boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
I prefer coconut cream for liquid
For the liquid in this recipe, I have used water, water and chicken stock, coconut milk, and creamed coconut and I prefer the taste and texture the creamed coconut adds over the others. It requires an extra step to whisk the cream with hot water but it’s totally worth it.
Be patient. Sometimes it can take a good half hour before the sauce starts to thicken. I always add more potatoes than I know I’ll need with the knowledge that I will likely mash a few of the pieces into the sauce to use the starch to help thicken it. If you’re mindful of not adding too much liquid to begin with, you won’t have to worry. But if you accidentally add too much water, broth, milk, or cream, don’t worry! It’s easily fixable by leveraging the starch in the potatoes.
Feel free to modify when making chicken curry
There are many variations of curry, so you might read this and think “this isn’t how I make curry!” Traditional Indian curry, for example, can be different from Guyanese curry, which is the country of origin of my recipe.
You should also know that, like with any dish, the taste can be altered dramatically based on the quality of your ingredients. If possible, visit the international section of a grocery store, or even a specialty store, and grab an authentic brand of curry powder versus the cheap off-the-shelf stuff. It can really make a difference in the end result.
Most importantly, make sure to taste throughout the cooking process. You might like your curry saltier than I do, might prefer it less thick, might want more onions, feel it needs some spicy heat via hot peppers or sauce, and so on. Don’t be afraid to follow your instincts and add to the recipe as you see fit.
Homemade curry chicken with rice
- 4 chicken breasts or approx. 8-10 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 4 Tbsp curry powder
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (approx.)
- 1 Tsp lemon juice
- 1 Tsp salt
- 1 onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 4 medium potatoes or approx. 10-12 small potatoes
- Salt to taste
- Approx. 1.5 cups coconut milk, water, or chicken stock (You can also use one 141g package of creamed coconut heated and whisked with approx. 300mL hot water.)
- Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
- Cut chicken thighs/breasts into 1-2-inch pieces.
- Season with salt, lemon juice and mix.
- Dice onions and garlic.
- Combine curry powder and olive oil to make a paste. Add more oil until you get the desired consistency. Mix the paste with the onions and garlic.
- Peel, wash, and cut potatoes into rough 2-inch quarters or cubes.
- Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large stockpot at medium heat and add curry paste mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes until fragrant.
- Add chicken. Mix frequently and fry for about 8-10 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked.
- If it starts to stick to the bottom, add a dash of water and scrape/deglaze the bottom of the pot with the wooden spoon.
- Add raw, cut potatoes, and mix well.
- Add water, stock, coconut milk, or coconut cream/water mixture to cover the chicken and potatoes. Top up as needed to ensure everything is covered.
- Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
- Let cook for 20-30 minutes, tasting frequently. Add salt if needed.
- If the sauce is not thickening, mash a few of the potatoes against the side of the pot with the wooden spoon, mix back in, and keep simmering. The starch will help thicken the sauce. If it’s too thick, add water until desired consistency is reached.
- Serve over cooked rice.
- Garnish with fresh parsley (optional).
Like this recipe? Don’t forget to bookmark it and stay tuned for next week when we tackle another great dinner idea. You can also take a look at other recipes we’ve shared recently for more cooking at home ideas.
In the meantime, peruse the Kitchen & Dining section of Best Buy Online to find all the tools you’ll need to help you on your journey to becoming a better cook.