Curry chicken (not chicken curry!) is a favorite in T&T. It is made with seasoned, bone-in chicken pieces and curry powder, seasonings and pepper.
This recipe is different from Indian curries that use tomatoes, curry leaves and coconut milk. This one is made with a unique curry powder blend that is popular in T&T and the wider Caribbean.
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Ingredients for curry chicken
For this recipe, you’ll need:
- bone-in chicken: I usually purchase chicken at my neighborhood poultry shop. There, they remove the feathers, clean and cut up the meat. Or you can purchase the whole bird and cut the meat up yourself using a cleaver.
- Caribbean green seasoning: which contains chadon beni, garlic, pepper and herbs like thyme, chives, cilantro, Spanish thyme, and more. Check out my post about making green seasoning from scratch or purchase already made green seasoning from Amazon.
- pepper: Scotch bonnet and pimento peppers are the most popular options when making Trini style curry chicken, but you can use fresh hot peppers available to you.
- ginger: this is optional.
- curry powder: In the Caribbean, curry powder blends contain coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, salt, fennel, mustard and chilies. I use Chief curry powder the most, but you can find lots of Caribbean curry powder options on Amazon.
- fresh herbs: like additional chadon beni leaves, thyme and chives.
I don’t usually add other ingredients to my curry chicken recipe, but you can add cumin powder, garam masala, and even coconut milk to yours. It’s all up to you!
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How to make curry chicken Trini style
Before getting into the steps, check out my video on Youtube for all the basics:
Prepare the raw chicken
Step 1: Be sure the chicken is cut into 2-inch to 3-inch pieces. Remove the fatty tissue and wash the meat a couple of times.
Step 2: Sprinkle flour or lime juice over the meat. Mix with the chicken thoroughly. This makes it easier to scrape that sliminess off the chicken pieces and it also removes the fresh smell of the meat. Rinse the chicken again thoroughly. By the way, we as Caribbean people wash our meat (contrary to what foreign health agencies advocate) and disinfect our sink and countertops after to prevent any cross-contamination.
Season the chicken
Step 3: Once the chicken is cleaned and rinsed thoroughly, add salt and Caribbean green seasoning. You can make your green seasoning fresh at this point if you like by blending chadon beni, garlic, thyme, pepper, and even ginger with a little water. Mix the meat so the seasoning coats all the pieces.
Step 4: Cover and refrigerate for the chicken to marinate for a couple hours or overnight.
Prep and cook the aromatics
Step 5: Wash, peel and chop the onion. Chop the fresh hot pepper and fresh seasonings too. I usually grate the garlic and ginger but you can mince them if you like.
Step 6: Place a heavy bottomed pot on medium heat. Add oil and allow to heat up.
Step 7: When the oil is nice and hot, add the chopped onions and pepper. Sauté for a couple of minutes before grating in the garlic and ginger. Stir again and allow to cook for a minute or two. This should take about 5 minutes in total.
Cook the curry
Step 8: Add dry curry powder to the oil. If the powder soaks up all of the oil, you can add a little more oil.
Step 9: Patch the curry powder for about 2 minutes. Be sure to stir often to prevent the curry from burning. It’s important to toast the powder properly, otherwise some person may have digestive problems afterward…
Step 10: Add about ¼ cup of water to the patched curry and aromatics to form a thin curry sauce. Cook down until the sauce completely dries out, which can take about 8 to 10 minutes. As the curry dries, stir often to prevent the ingredients from burning.
Add the seasoned chicken
Step 11: Add the seasoned chicken pieces once the curry is dry or almost dry. Mix to coat.
Step 12: Cover the pot completely, lower the heat, and leave the chicken to release its natural liquid. This can take about 15 minutes.
Step 13: Remove the cover. You’ll see the chicken cooking in its own natural sauce. You want that liquid to completely boil off. This can take about 10 minutes. If you are using potatoes in your curry chicken recipe, add them in before all the natural juices have boiled off.
Step 14: Turn the heat up for a minute or two after the liquid has boiled off. This ensures the curry and meat becomes really dry.
Step 15: With the chicken dry and the curry almost paste-like, add water (a cup to a cup and a half should be enough). This water will give you a nice curry sauce. If you want lots of sauce or a thinner sauce, add more water. If you want the curry sauce to be thick, add less water.
Step 16: Cover the pot, leaving a little space to allow for steam to escape. Cook for about 15 minutes.
Step 17: After that time, remove the cover and cook to the desired thickness of the gravy. Here you can add fresh herbs, coconut milk, and more salt. Cook for another 10 to 20 minutes. Turn off the stove and serve hot. Note, as the curry chicken cools, the curry sauce will thicken up. It’s a long process, but when you’re done, that curry chicken is excellent.
What to serve with curry chicken
Curry chicken goes well with other Indian-inspired dishes. Enjoy it as a side with Trinidad dhal and rice. Or have it with dhalpuri or paratha roti. With your roti and curry chicken, be sure to add sides like curry channa (chickpeas), pumpkin, mango talkari and more.
More related recipes
Curry chicken recipe
Curry chicken recipe (Trinidad recipe)
- 2 – 3 lbs chicken pieces with the bone in
- 2 tbsp Caribbean green seasoning (made with chadon beni, garlic, Spanish thyme)
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
- ½ inch ginger (grated)
- 1 pepper (chopped)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp chadon beni (chopped)
- salt to taste
- flour or lime juice or vinegar
Prep and marinate chicken
- Remove unwanted fatty tissue from the chicken pieces. Wash the chicken pieces.
- Mix with flour or lime juice or vinegar. Scrape to remove sliminess.
- Wash the meat again.
- Add green seasoning, pepper, and salt (2 tsps). Mix to coat.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours.
Make curry chicken
- Add oil to a large pot on medium heat.
- Mix in chopped onions and pepper. Sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add in grated garlic and ginger. Stir often for one to two minutes.
- Mix in dry curry powder (add more oil if necessary).
- Patch the curry for 2 minutes, stir often.
- Add water (¼ cup).
- Stir often and allow to reduce to a dry paste for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Toss in the marinated chicken pieces.
- Mix to coat the chicken in the curry paste.
- Cover the pot completely and lower the heat.
- Leave to cook for 15 minutes. The chicken will release its own liquid.
- Remove the cover and cook for 8 more minutes.
- Turn the heat up to high for two minutes to patch the curry and meat.
- Stir often.
- When all the liquid has boiled off, add water (1 cup to 1½ cups).
- Stir again.
- Partially cover pot and turn the heat to medium.
- Cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove cover and cook for another 10 to 20 minutes until the curry sauce is to your liking.
- Serve hot.