Monday, 20 August 2012

Caribbean Chicken Curry with Rice and Peas

It's Caribbean Food Week this week! The event has been launched by Grace Foods, who want to get us all cooking up Caribbean treats in our kitchens and really get to grips with the cuisine, which can seem mysterious to some, and in no way as familiar as, say Chinese or Mexican cooking. They sent me a range of spices and some tins so that I could get started and so I whipped up a Caribbean chicken curry and a generous portion of rice and peas.

I also cooked up some Jamaican Jerk Chicken, using a marinade by Encona. I just slathered it on some chicken drumsticks and thighs and baked for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken was all cooked through. The label stated that this was mildly-spiced, but my husband and the girls said it was too spicy for them. It had a tingle to it for sure, but I wouldn't describe it as exactly fiery. So, there was more for me (hurray!).

The curry is adapted from the one on the back of the label for the Caribbean curry powder. I just simplified some of the steps and tweaked the quantities so you can make the curry and the rice and peas using one can of coconut milk - no leftover coconut milk sitting in the fridge.
Caribbean Chicken Curry

The curry is mild, fragrant and fairly sweet - similar in flavour to the Chinese curries you get from takeaways but with a stronger allspice kick. I used chicken thighs instead of breast, because it's juicier and I just prefer the texture, but feel free to use breast if you like that better. The rice and peas are flavoured with a chilli (it doesn't have to be a Scotch Bonnet Chilli but if you can get hold of one, use that), some thyme sprigs, a spring onion and the coconut milk. It's adapted loosely from Levi Roots' recipe which uses whole allspice berries, but I couldn't get hold of any so used ground allspice fried with the onions. 

In short, we loved it.  I hope that if you haven't cooked Caribbean style food before, that this inspires you to have a go. It was easy and quick to cook and we are definitely going to have this again. I just don't know why I waited to so long to try it!

Jerk Chicken


Caribbean Chicken Curry with Rice and Peas
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
For the curry:
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Caribbean Mild Curry Powder
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • 250ml chicken stock
For the rice and peas:
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 ½ pints water
  • 300ml coconut milk
  • 400g Basmati rice
  • 400g can black eyed beans
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 spring onion, cleaned, trimmed and bashed with the back of a knife
  • 1 whole red chilli (Scotch Bonnet if you can find it)
  • Pinch salt and grinding of black pepper
Method:
  1. Drizzle a little olive oil into a medium-sized saucepan (with a lid) and fry the onion until just soft but not coloured. Sprinkle in the allspice and stir gently to coat. Fry for another minute.
  2. Tip in the water and 300ml coconut milk and bring to the boil. Tip in the rice, strirring once.
  3. Drop in the thyme, whole chilli and the bashed whole spring onion. Replace the lid and leave to simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, drizzle a little olive oil into a medium-sized frying pan and fry the chicken pieces. Sprinkle in the curry powder to coat and fry until just browned and almost cooked through. Pour in the 100ml coconut milk and the chicken stock and leave to simmer.
  5. The rice should be almost cooked. Drain the can of black eyed beans and tip them into the rice. Stir them through gently and leave for the last 5 minutes to warm through. Turn off the heat.
  6. Check that the chicken is cooked through. Fish out the thyme, chilli and spring onion and serve the rice and peas with the chicken curry.
Rice and Peas

Sound good? Do you cook any Caribbean-style foods? Which ones do you like best?

Curry chicken Rice and peas