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Jamaican-Style Chicken Curry

General / Recipes

Needing something to go with the last of the homemade ginger beer, I cooked up a Jamaican-style curry and it hit the spot. So what's the difference between Jamaican Curry Powder and Indian Curry Powder? Well, truth be told, no Indian chef worth his weight in rupees would use a curry "powder". Indian cooks use a mixture of spices to create a distinct flavor for a particular dish.

Curry powder is like using Mrs. Dash or Old Bay. However, the blend of spices that we buy as curry powder works perfectly for those who don't have the time or inclination to mix a little of this and a little of that to come up with the perfect blend. In the spice section, you will see Jamaican curry powder and Indian curry powder. The difference is the that in Jamaica they add allspice which they call "pimento". If you only have Indian curry powder, use it and you'll still get a super tasty result. After all, it was the Indians who introduced curry to Jamaica. After the slaves were freed in Jamaica, there was an influx of Indians who came as indentured servants to work on the sugarcane plantations. Curries are now a central part of Jamaican cuisine and are usually made with chicken, fish and goat. In this recipe use boneless, skinless chicken thighs.

Jamaican-Style Chicken Curry

1 pound boneless chicken thighs, each cut into 4 pieces (by the way, you can double this recipe simply by doubling all of the ingredients.

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed (about 1-1/2 tablespoons)
1/4 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 large ripe tomato, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large scallion, cut into 2 to 3-inch pieces
2 sprigs fresh thyme
4 leaves fresh basil
Dash cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup water

Place cut-up chicken into a large bowl. Add vegetables, spices, and seasonings; toss well to coat. (The picture above is all the goodies in the bowl). Cover and refrigerate overnight. In a large, heavy frypan, heat oil on medium setting. Remove chicken from marinade and cook, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Add vegetables and water. Cover and cook until vegetables are cooked through, about 20 minutes. I served this with basmati rice, but it's also nice with baked sweet potatoes.