Part of my family is Sri Lankan, and I’ve learned how much I love Sri Lankan food! I keep meaning to make a roadtrip to Toronto, the nearest city with a large Sri Lankan population, to enjoy the Sri Lankan restaurants, but haven’t done so yet… In the meantime, I have a repertoire of a few recipes that have been passed around the family, and this chicken curry is one. The full recipe follows the photos.
First you brown the chicken – make sure the oil is hot before you put the chicken in, skin-side down, and then don’t move it for the first 8 minutes, just let it get nice and golden brown, and flip it over and brown on the other side. Then you remove the chicken, and cook the onions, garlic, and ginger with the wonderful spices – this smells so good!
Adding the chicken back in, and the tomatoes, and then cooking the chicken until done.
At the end you add the coconut milk, and serve over rice. So good.
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 to 6 pieces chicken parts with bones (I’ve used 4 large chicken thighs)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, minced (if the jalapeno is very hot, we’ve used less than this)
3 teaspoons curry powder, or more
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional – I’ve usually skipped this
1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1 large fresh tomato, roughly chopped (I’ve also used canned tomatoes, chopped,
with their juice, instead of water)
10 Karapincha (curry) leaves, minced. These are optional but do add a lot of flavor, you can find them fresh at Indian grocery stores, or, keep a pot on your windowsill.
1 to 2 cups water (OR use tomato water instead)
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced, optional garnish
cooked rice, for serving
Salt and pepper the chicken. Heat oil over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed pot that you have a lid for; I used an enameled cast-iron pot with deep sides. Brown chicken in oil on all sides – about 8 minutes on the first side, then 5 minutes on the other, then remove from pan and put in a bowl or deep plate to catch any juices. I poured off a little of the oil from the pot, since I had quite a bit. Grind ginger and garlic in mortar and pestle. Add more oil if needed (I did not need to add any – in fact I poured off a bit), and add jalapeno, onion, curry powder, turmeric, cayenne (if using), salt, black pepper, Karapincha leaves (if using), and vinegar, and cook until onion softens, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Then add garlic and ginger paste, and cook just a minute. Add chicken back in, along with any juices that have collected, and add tomato and 1 to 2 cups of water. (I used 2 cups of chopped canned tomatoes with their juice, instead of adding water.) Cover and cook at medium heat until the juices just come to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, an additional 25-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Add coconut milk and cook a minute more until hot. Serve over rice, with optional fresh cilantro garnish.