When the Sweetie Pie and I were newlyweds, we would get a craving for curry. We’d head to the closest Indian restaurant, get our curry fix, and then head back home where we’d eat Pasta-Roni for the next three weeks. At that time, all curry seemed the same. Sometimes we’d get curry with peas and potatoes, sometimes we’d get zucchini and cauliflower, but it was all the same to us.
I know better now. I don’t know a whole lot about which regions create which curries, but I do know that they’re all different. And this one is Sri Lankan. Now I don’t really know what makes a curry Sri Lankan, but it seems to me that some of the spices in this curry come from India, and others from places like Thailand or Cambodia. And since Sri Lanka sits kind of in between these two places, that makes complete sense.
Anyway, whatever the origination, this curry is darn good.
Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. They’re mostly spices and they all go in at the same time. This dish really comes together in no time.
You can find curry leaves at your local ethnic grocery. You could probably find them at some hoity toity gourmet grocery too, but they’ll cost you five times as much. Go to your ethnic grocer, buy a whole branch of curry leaves for a couple of bucks, and keep them in your freezer. They’ll keep for ages. If you’re opposed to tracking down obscure ingredients, you could just leave them out. But you’re going to miss out on some of the subtle flavor.
The same thing goes for the lemongrass. It will be so much cheaper from your ethnic grocer. The last time I made a trip to the Indian grocery I found a jar of dried lemongrass, which is what I use. It’s not a fresh tasting though (think of dried basil vs. fresh basil) so I recommend the fresh if it’s available to you.
I served this over rice, with this yummy cucumber salad, adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe. If you prefer your veg mixed in, you could add some green beans, cauliflower, or other veg to the curry itself. You may want to consider doubling the sauce if you add veggies.
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Source: Healing Foods by Sandra Ramacher
- 3 Tbs ghee or coconut oil
- 10 fresh curry leaves
- 2 cups onions, finely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp ginger, grated
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 1 Tbs ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground fennel
- 2 tsp ground paprika
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbs GF rice vinegar
- 3 pounds organic chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, cut into chunks
- 2 tomatoes, peeled and choppeds
- 6 cardamom pods, lightly crusheds
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 stalk lemon grass, minced
- 1 can coconut milk
- Heat the ghee or coconut oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Fry the curry leaves until they turn brown.
- Add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook until onions are golden and tender.
- Add spices (through salt) and vinegar. Stir until well-combined.
- Add chicken and stir until thoroughly coated with the spices. Add the remaining ingredients, except the coconut milk, and cover. Cook over medium heat for 40-50 minutes. Uncover and add coconut milk. Stir and cook uncovered for 2 minutes.
- Serve over rice.