Maybe it’s the warmer weather, but we have been cooking up a lot of Caribbean-inspired dishes this week. This recipe, adapted from the holy grail, aka the Saveur website, is easily one of the most rewarding we’ve tried, considering input vs. output. Billed as Jamaican, it makes use of traditional Caribbean ingredients such as chayote- a smallish squash with a firm texture and a taste slightly reminiscent of a green apple. Also, check out the scotch bonnet and habanero peppers- delicious, but be sure to remove them prior to serving the meal so no one gets burned! You can take the seeds out for a milder curry, but we would recommend leaving them in if you can take the heat. In a pinch you can substitute double the jalepeños.
Now, this curry calls for the generic ingredient “curry powder” aka masala, which we do not usually endorse. That being said, you can feel free to make your own, or, in the interest of time and sanity, using a pre-made (gasp!) masala from the store. The common “Madras” style should suffice. Take note- the masala from the store will never be as good as your own, but here is how you can make it passable: toast it. Carefully. Heat a dry pan, and carefully, carefully toast the powder, stirring constantly, over medium heat until it becomes fragrant. While you’re at it, if you are using ground allspice, toast that as well (separately.)
One more note before you start cooking- you can maximize the use of your canned coconut milk by using the cream at the top of the can for cooking (in the same way you would use coconut oil- that is primarily what the cream top is composed of.) Later you can dump the rest of the milk in for simmering purposes. Trust us, it works!
Adapted from the Saveur website:
Jamaican Style Lime Curry
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed
juice of 3-4 limes
heaping tablespoon curry powder (Madras will do just fine) divided in two
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp ground allspice
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 scallions, chopped
handful fresh thyme
3 carrots, diced
1 chayote squash, cubed
1 russet potato, cubed
1 thumb fresh ginger, minced and muddled
1 Scotch bonnet or habanero chile, sliced in half
Combine lime juice and curry powder in a bowl, marinate chicken 4 hours minimum- overnight is best.
When ready to cook, season chicken with salt and pepper, then brown in a heavy pot. Remove and set aside (back into the marinade is just fine!)
Using the same heavy pot, plop in the cream top from your coconut milk, let simmer for a few seconds. Add the allspice and a touch of the curry powder. After a few seconds, add the garlic, ginger, and thyme. Once fragrant, add the carrots, chayote, and potato. Stir it all together for a few minutes, until caramelized.
Add chicken and remaining marinade, along with the rest of the coconut milk. Toss in your chile of choice to flavor the whole dish subtly. Let simmer for about 40 minutes, and serve with rice. Ta-da!