An Easy Curry Dish
- January 14th, 2014
- in Lifestyle
Spice Up Your High Season with Curry
It’s high season in the Virgin Islands, and houses and boats are filled with seasonal residents and their visitors.
This permits the opportunity to welcome hungry guests with a fragrant and delicious island-inspired chicken curry.
Curries are great crowd pleasing dishes as they yield a large quantity and can be prepared in advance. As a bonus, curries usually taste better the next day, once the flavours have had a chance to meld. Most curries also fit my guidelines for cooking on a boat in the Caribbean: the ingredients are readily available and no complicated techniques or equipment are involved.
‘Curry’ is a widely varying word for dishes that contain meat, fish or vegetables in a highly aromatic sauce. To add seasonings to a curry, the gold standard involves grinding whole, fresh spices and hand mixing them. Although I occasionally create my own spice blend, I typically opt for high quality commercial curry powder for the sake of convenience and space constraints on a boat.
Curry powders differ significantly in their ingredients and degree of heat, so check labels carefully when buying curry powder. For example, standard British-style curry powders usually include ample amounts of turmeric, providing a bright yellow colour, along with ground chillies for moderate spiciness. Local supermarkets can meet the majority of your spice needs. Road Town specialty stores Best of British and Sunny Caribbee also carry an excellent array of spices, with Sunny Caribbee offering proprietary curry blends.
A curry can easily be repurposed as a roti, a hugely popular Caribbean dish consisting of a seasoned tortilla-like flatbread stuffed with curried meat (often chicken), fish, shellfish or vegetables. Preparation of roti skins requires time, space and a bit of expertise—generally too much work for a boat. Instead, look for excellent locally-produced skins in the freezer section of BVI supermarkets. Top a roti with mango chutney and serve with a side of rice and a simple salad for a quick and tasty meal.
A few years ago, I spent an extended winter season cruising the Eastern Caribbean between Grenada and Puerto Rico. My husband Matt and I quickly fell into a routine when we arrived on a new island, which also usually meant a new country. After clearing customs & immigration, we would buy local rum or beer and then seek out the best roti in town to accompany our drinks. Each island has its own variations in creating rotis with specific spices, levels of heat and combinations of meat, fish and vegetables as variables. This makes curries particularly fun food to sample when travelling in the Caribbean.
Chicken and Potato Curry
This is a very fragrant curry, but not too spicy. Add a few dashes of hot sauce if you like your curry spicier.
4 Tbs butter 1 c chopped onion 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 Tbs finely minced fresh ginger 3 Tbs curry powder 1 ½ lbs boned chicken pieces, cut in 1” cubes 8 oz plain yogurt 6 oz can tomato paste 1 tsp salt 2 lbs peeled baking potato, cut in ½” pieces 3/4 c coconut milk 1 ½ c water 1 c chopped tomato Hot sauce – for serving
Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic, and ginger until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add chicken and sauté until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Add yogurt, tomato paste, salt, potato, coconut milk and water to pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer approximately 1 hour, or until potatoes are tender. Serve over basmati rice. Top curry mixture with chopped tomato. Makes 6-8 servings.