Friday, April 22, 2011

Curry Chicken

I've never been a big fan of curry until the past year or so, when I got a mouth awakening curry from my favorite Thai restaurant here in Knoxville.     Since then I crave the flavor often and last night tried making Bon Appetit's Sri Lankan Chicken Curry.

The results were just okay.  It lacked the oomph! you expect from a curried dish.  I had such high hopes for it because the ingredients were fresh and some of my favorites (onion, cilantro, ginger, curry powder, garlic, red pepper, turmeric, etc).  It filled the house with the rich aroma.  But on the plate it just under-delivered.  It was too mild.  Sriracha helped doctor it up some.
  • Curry - The curry powder was brand new, so it wasn't that.  I wonder if curry paste would have been better.
  • Chicken - The chicken thighs were less than perfect.  They were poorly trimmed and had excessive fat in them.  Plus I made matters worse by overcrowding the pan during the browning portion of the cook. Maybe I should have let the paste sit on the chicken for a while. 
  • Coconut milk - I didn't use canned, I used the bottled coconut milk we had in the fridge.  I assumed it would be fresher and better.  UPDATE:  The milk is So Delicious brand and it says it is cultured, adding pre and probiotics.  Could that be part of the problem, can you cook with this stuff? 

I won't make this version again.  Help me out, do you have a favorite, rock solid curry recipe?  It doesn't have to be chicken.  Leave a link if you have one on your blog or another site. 

Dead End BBQ 2011 Cooking Series
This time tomorrow I will be taking the rib class at George Ewart's restaurant.  We'll be learning the ins and outs of how to boil ribs in beer and then cook them in a crock pot.  Just kidding, breathe.  It is going to be a hands on class on the finer points of slow smoking pork ribs. 

Later this year, 4 time American Royal champion Mike Davis from Team Lotta Bull will be teaching a class on May 22nd.  I took his classes at BBQ Boot Camp last year in Sevierville and enjoyed myself.

Then on June 18th, Robyn from will be teaching a ladies only grilling clinic, no testosterone allowed.  Alexis will be attending this one in lieu of me. 

If you are interested in these classes, visit Dead End BBQ and sign up.


  1. I know what you mean about curry. Meh. But Thai curry is something different. The best and easiest version I've found came from America's test kitchen. Basically, you put onion, garlic, little green thai chiles or serranos, ginger, cilantro stems (save the leaves for garnish) and a few special thai spices like galangal and lime leaves into the food processor and grind them into a paste. Then, take the solids that have collected at the top of the can of coconut milk (don't use lite coconut milk) and saute the spice mix.

    Here's the important part, you have to cook this about thirty minutes, stirring often, until the fats in the coconut start to separate out. You'll see a yellow oil start to form. Once this happens, add the rest of the coconut milk and your chicken ( if raw) and veggies ( we like mushrooms and more onion). If you are using left over roast chicken, wait until the veggies are cooked and just heat chicken through.

  2. Ina Garten has no fail recipes.. They always turn out right...As far as curry, this is what I found:

    If the spices were fresh, maybe you are just not a fan of curry? I know I'm not a fan of 5 spice powder.. The cardamon does me in all the time..

  3. Kirby: ATK has never let me down, I'll have to try that version too. Great tip on the timing with the separation of the milk fats, I didn't know that.

    Kalei: I do like curry, this one was too weak for me, if anything. I wanted more of that flavor. Curried chicken wraps sound good.

  4. I love any kind of curry and the hotter the better for me. I dont dabble with making Indian food though as I think it's really an art to that culture, they have so much history and probably so many secrets as to how the food is prepared. Im luck to live by a place called Little India and I get plenty of excellent takeout. I have a Thai green chicken soup recipe on my blog which I really liked and would make again, if you like it hot though dont be shy to increase the paste and the chillis and it dosent really become runny like a soup, it's still more on the thick side.
    I appreciate your honest meal review though!

  5. It's good to have a dilemma every now and then, ain't it? I find that adding more spice about a minute before serving sparks it up, especially when we're using Indian flavors.

  6. It looks great, sorry the taste didn't match.

    I use a tablespoon or so of Mae Ploy curry paste (red or panang) and a can of regular ( not light) coconut milk as the base of my Thai curries. Then I usually add a shot of fish sauce, lime juice, and a little peanut butter.

  7. @Foodness: I'll give it a shot and let you know. What kind of smoker do you have?

    @StephenC: "Every now and then" What you talkin' bout Willis. ha ha, just wish it wasn't so often.

    @Dave: Sounds like a nice mix, especially the peanut butter.

  8. Chris, I have a Weber Smokey Mountain, 22inch, loadsa fun!!

  9. I didn't sign up for the rib class, so you'll have to teach me what temp to boil them at. I did sign up for Lotta Bull though.

  10. I think the coconut beverage you used could be a big part of the problem too .The sauce in the picture seems "thin". The product that comes in a can works great, and I usually like to use a chili paste from the asian market of some sort.

  11. The first time I ate curry it was made too weak-the second time it was so strong I nearly fainted.

  12. I really can't help you on this one. I make curries about every three months and it seems that they always have oomph...if not too much. I wonder if it's a bad recipe where measurements were were written by someone who doesn't like oomph. Let me check my database for my favorite and I'll send it along. I think most of mine are in broths however.

  13. I prefer Thai curries over Indian curry. So, I usually use a Thai curry paste in mine - gives it plenty of flavor and heat.

  14. In my experiences with curries, I've discovered that the key is getting a really good curry powder. There's an Indian store near me that sells them super cheap! If you want I can send you a good spicy version! The kind from the supermarket can be totally subpar. Unfortunately.

  15. I have always found that if you add some garam masala in with the curry powder, it helps give it more of that curry flavor. I use about 1/2 teaspoon to every 1-2 tablespoons of curry. Oh, and I finally broke down and bought HOT curry powder..that definitely helps give it some oomph!!

  16. Sriracha to the rescue. It's too bad the curry didn't turn out as great as you expected.

  17. I need a curry revelation some day because I've never been a fan.

  18. HEY, I have just come across your blog, and I would like to add it in my blogroll. Would you let me??

    And I have a simple chicken curry recipe, sharing it with you.

    What you need is about 2 pounds of skinless chicken. NOT BONELESS. Marinate it in 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1-2 tsp plain or malt vinegar and a big pinch of salt for about 15 minutes.

    Now heat some canola oil and add 1 stick of cinnamon, 4 green cardamom, 1 bay leaf and 4 cloves, whole. Mix them in together, and then add about 200 gms of chopped onion. Let the onion brown on medium high heat (dont burn!) and then add your chicken. Mix well, turn up the heat, and sear the chicken for about 10 minutes, till you dont see raw chicken looking back at you. At this point you can add a pinch of sugar, and then 2 cups of boiling water, along with 200 gms of Potatoes, cut in 2" pieces (We like our potatoes peeled and halved, no fancy stuff here). Cover and simmer till the potatoes are fully cooked and soft. Serve with rice. The trick to eating this is: You serve at least ONE piece of potato with the rice, and you mash it together in the gravy while eating. enjoy!

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