Monday, November 22, 2010

Jamaican Curry Chicken with Peach Chutney and Masala Khakhara








This Jamaican curry is so flavorful and unique!
  
     English colonization of Jamaica introduced many Indian servants to this caribbean island.  Spice mixes and cooking techniques from India found a new home in Jamaica.  Rich tropical masala or curry cooking is popular on most islands in the caribbean.
     I used to cook this Jamaican Curry at an English Pub in Florida as a special du jour.  The customers loved this curry!  Good curry goes well with great English Ales and India Export Ales.
     I was famous for my chutneys too.  English customers would purchase pints of my chutneys to bring home to England!  They said that my chutney was better than any chutney that they could buy back home in England.  I guess they did not know how to make their own chutney!  I rarely buy chutney in a jar at an Indian market.  Fresh made chutney is so delightful!
  
     Peach Chutney Recipe:
     Mix 1 cup of sugar, 4 cups of water and 1/2 cup of cider vinegar together in a sauce pot.
     Taste the liquid.  The liquid should taste like a balance of sweet and sour.  The sweet sour flavor should not be overly sweet and it should be slightly tart.  Add sugar or cider vinegar to adjust the flavor.  The flavor will be diluted, because the liquid has not been reduced as of yet.  (The amount of liquid before reduction shoul be twice as much as the amount of the fruits and vegetables.) 
     Boil and reduce the liquid over high heat, till it just starts to enter the syrup stage.  (That would be when the liquid is reduced by a little more than by half.) 
     Add 1 small handful of each of these small chopped vegetables:
     - onion
     - green bell pepper
     - green onion
     Add 1 minced jalapeno pepper.
     Add 1 minced Scotch Bonnet Pepper or habanero pepper. 
     Add 3 cloves of minced garlic.
     1 1/2 tablespoons of minced ginger.
     Add the very thin sliced chiffonade of lemon zest from 1/2 of a lemon.
     Add 3 chopped dried prunes.
     Add 1 1/2 cups of diced peeled peaches.  (The fruit and vegetable proportion should be slightly more in volume than the reduced sugar/vinegar liquid.)
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 5 pinches of allspice.
     Add 1 small pinch of yellow masala curry powder.
     Add 1 small pinch of turmeric.  (The main spice in chutney is allspice!)
     Add 1 generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
     Simmer the chutney uncovered over medium low/low heat.
     Simmer till the chutney has the consistency of fresh made jam or fruit preserves.  The natural pectin in the fruit and onion helps to thicken chutney like jelly.  (Do not over cook the chutney to where it becomes smooth and mushy.  You should be able to see some of the featured fruit pieces in the chutney.)
     Refrigerate the chutney for one week, so the flavors thoroughly meld.
     Serve the Peach Chutney in a ramekin.  (Chutney can be kept in a refrigerator for six months.)
  
     Jamaican Curry Chicken Recipe:
     Heat a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 2 cups of water.
     Add 1 handful of finely chopped onion.
     Add 8 cloves of minced garlic.
     Add 4 cups of  light chicken broth.
     Boil and reduce the curry base, till it is reduced to a thin mushy puree and the onions are very soft and mushy.  There should only be about 1 1/2 cups of the masala mush in the pan after reducing.  Whisk the curry base to a smooth thin puree consistency.
     Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Add 8 to 10 ounces of boneless chicken breast meat that is cut into large bite size pieces.
     Add 1 small handful of sliced carrot.
     Add 1 small handful of sliced celery.
     Add 1 small handful of large diced red bell pepper.
     Add 1 small handful of large diced green bell pepper.
     Add 1 green onion that is cut into large bite size pieces.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced ginger.
     Add 1 chopped jalapeno pepper.
     Add 1 chopped green scotch bonnet pepper.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add  2 pinches of cumin.
     Add 2 pinches of coriander.
     Add 3 pinches of turmeric.
     Add 1 tablespoon of garam masala.  (North Indian spice mix.)
     Add 1 large handful of diced fresh peeled pineapple pieces.  (Discard the pineapple core.)
     Simmer for 5 minutes.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk.
     Add 1 squeeze of lemon juice.
     Simmer and reduce the curry chicken, pineapple and vegetables, till a medium thin curry sauce is formed.
  
     Assembly:
     Form a round ring of plain white rice on a serving platter.
     Spoon the jamaican curry chicken in the center of the circle of rice.
     Place some thin Masala Khakhara bread that is gently broken in half on the platter.  (Masala Khakhara = Indian flat, thin, turmeric and powdered mango spiced bread.  This masala is available pre made at Indian markets.)
     Place a ramekin of the peach chutney on the platter.
  
     The spicy hot yellow curry with the pineapple chunks is uniquely Jamaican.  The flavor is unbelievably great!  A little dab of the Peach Chutney on the Masala is very refreshing.  This recipe is my favorite island style curry!  Yum Mon!  ...  Shawna

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