It has most certainly been a while since I have posted to this blog. Given the fact that I lost two people very dear to me in 2020, my mother to COVID in April, and my son was shot the day before my birthday in December, I haven’t truly been in a sharing kind of mood. Back in December, I started a position in the only school district where I never worked as a substitute teacher in my county. I immediately fell in love with these kids. Of course one of them stalked me online to the point that he discovered this blog, and questioned me as to why I hadn’t posted in a while. He told me that his cooking teacher promised to have their class prepare the next dish I posted to the blog, so I decided to make a dish I grew up enjoying, curry chicken.
My mother was from Panamá, and those familiar with the country are aware of the unique mixture of cultures that make up the country. The cultures include the native aboriginal people of the land, Spanish culture (it is part of Latin America), and West Indian culture. Many West Indians came to Panamá to help build the canal and settled there. My mother was a blend of these cultures and was primarily raised by her Jamaican grandmother who never learned to speak Spanish.
My first attempts to recreate the dish fell flat, as all I did was season the chicken with curry powder and put it in a pot, along with water. Over the years, I began trying various recipes and finally settled on this one. While many versions of this dish are very spicy, do not be alarmed, I do not incorporate any hot peppers in this dish. If I were to make it for a group of whom enjoy spiciness, I would include some of my mother’s traditional hot sauce, which I believe is Jamaican in origin.
I still use curry powder in the dish, but I need to advise that I no longer purchase curry powder, preferring to blend it on my own, using this recipe found in allrecipes.com: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/197274/jamaican-curry-powder/
The dish can easily be converted to vegan by substituting chicken for chickpeas. It is not unusual for me to add a can of chickpeas to the dish anyway, along with the potatoes and the chicken. As one of my new co-workers is fond of saying, “You do you!”
- 3/4 – 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs Dice into bite-size pieces
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsps curry powder (divided)
- 1 – 2 tbsps coconut oil
- 1 medium onion Sliced into half moons
- 1 bell pepper any color Diced
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth Mine is homemade with no salt added
- 6 oz diced tomatoes (preferable) or tomato sauce
- 6 oz coconut milk
- 1 large bay leaf or 2 small ones
- Season the diced chicken with the salt, black pepper and one tbsp of curry powder. Allow to sit at room temperature while you prepare the rest of the vegetables.
- Melt a tablespoon of coconut oil in the pan, then add the chicken, allowing it to brown. I am not looking for it to cook through at this time, just get it browned. Then remove the chicken from the pan.
- Add additional coconut oil if needed and add the sliced onions and peppers. When these have softened, add the minced garlic until you can smell the garlic (about a minute). Once you smell the garlic, add the chicken broth to deglaze the pan, scraping up the leftover stuff stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Allow the broth to reduce by a third, then add the tomato and coconut milk. Add the second tablespoon of curry powder. Stir until all liquids and curry powder are blended, then add the potatoes and bay leaves.
- Return the chicken to the pot and cover on low until the potatoes are soft.
- Enjoy spooned over cooked plain rice or quinoa.