If I say I like curry, that’s an understatement!! I absolutely love, adore and relish any bowlful of curry concoction. That’s more like it. My relationship with curry… Curry obsessed!! Luckily, there is plenty of curry in this word, with varying colors, flavors and stories behind their existence. I am in my happy place when I whip up some cracking curry. This curry chicken from the Caribbean island country of Trinidad hits close to home. Curry powder and fresh herbs and aromatics in their green seasoning form the base of this super simple chicken affair. Trinidad style curry chicken… Promise delivered!!
Yes, if you read my Green Seasoning post, you knew this one was coming. As soon as I whipped up that green gorgeousness in my kitchen I was ready to try this Caribbean staple. This is one you would find in every Trinidadian household.
In the Caribbean, former British colonies such as Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago are literally the land of curries. So much so that in Trinidad & Tobago curry has become a symbol of national identity over the past two centuries.
It all goes back to the British Empire. When slavery was abolished on the islands around 1834, all those of African descent immediately abandoned the sugar and cocoa plantations, causing a severe labor crisis. The planters, suddenly hard pressed for cheap labor, were forced to look to distant countries to fill this critical shortage.
The people of the British colony of India, who wanted to get away from poverty and widespread famine, were eager to start a new life and provided an ideal solution. That time saw a large influx Indian immigrants. Their culture and cuisine wasn’t far behind. Of course, they had to adapt to what ingredients were available to them. That’s why you will find food very similar in name, though the tastes are a little bit different.
Today, Indo-Trinidadians form the largest single ethnic community (40%) on the island. Their love for cumin, coriander, fenugreek and turmeric is very evident in their curry powders. Native scotch bonnet peppers, culantro, thyme and cilantro also find their way in Trini seasonings. So, lets take a look at one of their basic curries…
Trinidadian Curry Chicken
These island people cook their meat in so many different ways. But most of the times, their meats are marinated in herbs and spices and cooked like a stew or curry. Sometimes they brown the chicken using sugar in the beginning. Sometimes it’s coconut based. And sometimes it’s loaded with other veggies. Here I am going to introduce you to the simplest form of making curried chicken. All you need is some good curry powder and that amazing Green seasoning.
Here is what you need today
- Chicken – You can use whole cut up chicken or any bone in skinless chicken.
- Peppers – We are using jalapeno and habenero
- Spices – Curry powder, cumin, turmeric and garam masala powder
- Green seasoning
What is Green Seasoning?
Green seasoning is a Caribbean staple, used in soups and stews, and as a marinade for meats and seafood. Though the ingredients can vary, my version consists of scallion + garlic + ginger + cilantro+ culantro + parsley + thyme + bell peppers + cubanelle peppers + hot peppers + lemon juice, all whipped up in your blender. Even if you are missing some of these ingredients, it still turns up great. You can also find a jarred version in local ethnic markets in a pinch, but it can’t compare to the freshness of homemade.
For more details, check out my Green Seasoning post.
How to cook this island favorite
If you have a bottle of green seasoning ready, it’s a breeze from there. Just marinate the chicken with generous amounts of green seasoning along with salt, pepper, cumin and curry powder. I never ever use curry powder in my Indian dishes, but don’t have any qualms using it in any other cuisines if they demand it. Anyways, you can marinate it from a few hours to overnight.
When ready to cook, start by sautéing onion, garlic and jalapenos. Mix curry powder, cumin, garam masala powder and turmeric in a bowl. Add these spice powders into the onion mixture and stir constantly. You need to cook this spice mixture well for a couple of minutes. Add in 1/4 cup of water to make a slurry and cook for another minute.
Once it starts to thicken up, add in marinated chicken and stir well. Cover and cook the chicken for 10 minutes. By this time the chicken would release its own juices. Add more water and stir well. Toss in the in potatoes and whole habanero pepper, along with some more green seasoning and continue cooking till the chicken is cooked. That’s it. You are all ready to serve it along with some piping hot basmati rice, or your favorite roti or naan. Isn’t it so much easier than traditional Indian curries? The use of curry powder and prepared seasoning in the refrigerator make for fast and easy cooking… Trinidad style!
- You can add a few tomatoes to give it a little tang. We tried it and approve BIG time.
- Try adding other veggies like carrots, peas and green beans.
- Add some of coconut milk to add richness and creaminess to the curry. Its yum.
As with any curry, it ages very well. You can refrigerate this for 2-3 days, those flavors heighten over time. Curried chicken freezes well too, up to three months in an airtight container.
Once you made my green seasoning, I knew you would be excited to try this super simple curried chicken. Bring these islands flavors into your home. As for me, as I am scarfing down my chicken with my beloved rice, my thoughts kept on returning to those 19th century Indian workers, faithfully recreating their favorite dishes in their new found Trinidadian homes. Hmm… Quite remarkable. The journeys people make and their foods. I am glad you are with GypsyPlate on this journey of ours. Thank you… and Get Curried!!
Trinidadian Curry Chicken, on my Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
Try these other great curries from around the world!
Indian Chicken Masala
Japanese Beef Curry
Filipino Chicken Caldereta
Caribbean Coconut Mussel Curry
South African Chicken Curry
Dominican Pollo Guisado
Filipino Pork Menudo
Kedjenou Chicken (Ivory Coast Stew)
Dal Tadka (Yellow Lentils)
For chicken marination
- 3 lbs skinless chicken thighs
- 1/2 cup green seasoning (See notes)
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/8 cup garlic, chopped
- 1 jalapeño, chopped
- 1 whole habanaro
- 4 Tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
- 3 Tbsp green seasoning
- 3-4 Tbsp oil
- 2 potatoes, cut into cubes
- Salt to taste
- Mix the chicken with all the marination ingredients and marinate for a couple of hours to overnight.
- Mix curry powder, cumin, turmeric and garam masala powder in a bowl.
- Heat oil over medium high heat and stir in onion, garlic and jalapeño and sauté till onion gets soft and starts getting golden brown. Add in mixed spices and stir continuously for a couple of minutes. Add in 1/4 cup of water and make a slurry and cook the curry till it thickens up.
- Add in marinated chicken. Mix well and cook covered for ten minutes, the chicken will start to cook in its own juices. Stir and cook for an additional 5-8 minutes. Add two and half cups water along with potatoes, whole uncut habanero, salt, green seasoning and cook covered till the chicken is fall off the bone tender. Depending on how much sauce you want, feel free to add more water.
You can make a quick green seasoning by blending scallion + garlic + ginger + cilantro+ culantro + parsley + thyme + bell peppers + cubanelle peppers + hot peppers + lemon juice in your blender. If you don't have access to some of the ingredients for the seasoning, it still turns out great with few of the above mentioned ingredients. For a detailed recipe, read my Trinidadian green seasoning post.
You can adjust the consistency of the sauce in your curry chicken by adding more or less water. Some like it dry, some prefer saucy.
Serve with your favorite rice or roti or naan.
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 530Total Fat 35gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 28gCholesterol 208mgSodium 600mgCarbohydrates 14gFiber 3gSugar 2gProtein 43g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
Be sure to check out my roundup of the words best Curry Recipes!
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