I’m wrapping up my Black History Month food series and it’s a been a joy and honor to learn about food and diverse ingredients throughout the month and it’s something that I think we will continue to do around here. Food much like music is universal and there is so much to learn, experience, and appreciate about diverse cuisines. This week I have the pleasure of sharing with you a recipe that I LOVE and grew up on, Jamaican Curry Chicken. My parent’s didn’t really make Jamaican food but we did support the local Jamaican and Caribbean restaurants in our city quite often. We ate a lot of curry goat, pepper steak, red snapper, escovitch fish, brown stew, oxtails, and of course curry chicken.
I spent some time with my friend, Jasmine Edvadney Campbell to learn how her family makes Jamaican Curry Chicken. We talked about some of the women in her family who influenced how she loves and celebrates her Jamaican culture. Jasmine learned how to make curry chicken from her Aunt who lives in the UK and through repetition, she is proud to say that she has mastered the recipe. I have had Jasmine’s curry chicken a couple times and it is better than any other recipe I ever had. The spices are authentic, the chicken is tender, and it’s one of those dishes that you feel proud of once you take your first bite.
A few notes on the recipe:
Curry Powder – You will want to use a Jamaican curry powder. We used Grace for this recipe but you can research other Jamaican curry powders as well.
Scotch Bonnet Pepper- Jasmine slices/minces her pepper for a little extra heat (which I like ). You will want to remove the seeds if you choose to slice the pepper. You can also just put the pepper in the curry and it will slowly cook out the heat. It’s really about heat preference.
Coconut milk- not all recipes call for coconut milk, some just use water. Again, it’s about preference but the coconut milk adds a wonderful texture and just a touch of sweetness.
How to make Jamaican Curry Chicken
Clean the chicken. Add the diced onion, ginger, pimento seeds, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper (ONLY if you are slicing your scotch bonnet pepper. If adding whole, wait until step 3), curry powder, and seasoning salt to a bowl. Add in the chicken and mix everything together. You might want to use your hands (wear a glove) to massage the curry powder into the chicken. Once everything is well combined cover the bowl and let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
When your chicken is ready, pour the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot add the chicken pieces to the pot and brown on all sides for about 10 minutes (5 minutes per side). Once the chicken has browned add the remaining ingredients that the chicken was marinating in to the pot. Add the fresh thyme, potatoes, and carrots and stir everything together then let cook for 8-10 minutes as the onions, potatoes, and carrots cook down.
Pour in the coconut milk or water. Be sure that the liquid is mostly covering the chicken and vegetables, if it’s not add a little more water and stir well. If you are adding in the whole scotch bonnet do that now. Once it comes to low boil reduce the heat to low and cook covered for 40 minutes. The chicken will be very tender and pull apart very easily when done. Serve with white rice or rice and peas and enjoy!