Curry is one of those recipes which is hard to get wrong. And it’s one of those dishes that is 100 times tastier the next day, if you can manage to save some. It was one of the first ‘ethnic’ dishes I could make by memory, as the ingredients are few and simple to prepare.
Sometimes I add a sliced carrot to mine. Peas also work. I like to add whole spices, like cardamom and star anise, to make the curry even more fragrant. The cinnamon stick lends a bit of sweetness.
Before I married my husband I thought all curry mixes were the same. And the only curry I had been exposed to was that generic bland curry powder found in grocery stores. Back then, I didn’t know curry mixes vary by region, and that it is not solely an Indian dish.
My husband’s Malay and Javanese roots have their own versions of curry. These tend to be richer than the Indian versions. Sometimes they are ‘pedas’, or made sour by adding lime or tamarind.
To make good curry it’s crucial that you have a good curry mix. When we last visited Singapore we took home a small suitcase full of spices. Let me search for that photo and add it another time….that was crazy!!
You may use any Indian or Thai curry mix or paste that you find suitable. Indian “Madras curry” is a good one to try if you can’t find a South East Asian blend. The other basic ingredients are potato, onion, and coconut milk. Pretty simple really. It’s a great starting recipe if you want to try Asian cooking.
1 large potato and 1 pound of chicken may seem too scant for feeding 4 people, but for our family it’s all about the sauce and dipping into it with the naan. If you want something more substantial, by all means add another potato or a half pound more of the chicken.
1 large onion, sliced thin
1 large potato, peeled and chopped into bite sized chunks (about 1”)
1 tsp salt
2 ½ tbsp curry powder mix or 2 tbsp paste
1 lb skinless boneless chicken breast and thighs, chopped into small pieces
1 can coconut milk
water (enough to just cover potatoes)
2 tbsp oil
*If you have – 1 whole star anise, 4 crushed cardamom pods, 3 cloves, 1 small cinnamon stick (tied in cheesecloth)
Chopped cilantro for garnish
Heat oil in a pot or deep wok. Fry onions until soft, add curry paste. If you are working with a powdered curry mix, add enough water to form a paste.
Once fragrant, add chicken. Stir and cook over medium heat until no longer pink (about 3-4 minutes).
Add water, bundled spices, and potatoes. Once it starts to boil, reduce heat to medium-low. Pour in coconut milk, and cover, cooking until potatoes are softened, about 15 minutes.
Uncover and cook on low until curry liquid becomes silky looking and has thickened a bit, approximately another 15-20 minutes. Add salt at the end, to taste. Curry is done when you see some oil and spices coming to the top (oil will have turned a deeper colour of red or orange).
Serve with rice and/or warmed dipping breads, like naan. Serves 4.
*You may want to bundle these loose spices, but I throw them in loose. Later I pick out the cloves and anise, but my favorite part is scooping the curry with a cardamom pod up with my naan. I love biting down on the perfumy cardamom!
This is one of my favorite comfort dishes.