We went on a cruise recently and spent a day in Belize City where I fell in love.
With curry that is!
We ate lunch at a tiny, authentic hole-in-the-wall that had the most magical curry chicken I’ve ever tasted! It was authentic, deeply delicious, warm and satisfying and I knew I had to try and replicate it at home. It was rich with layers of flavor from peppers, onions, garlic, and cilantro and I felt pretty sure I could figure out how to make it so I could share it with you.
We had friends visiting last week and I made it for dinner one night and they declared it ‘blog-worthy’ so, here’s my stab at Curry Chicken, Belize style!
It’s not a super hot curry so you can add more heat if you like. I’ve also found this to be a terrific dish for a crowd but you’ll need to cook the chicken in batches unless you have a gigantic frying pan.
Curry Chicken Belize Style!
- 12 assorted pieces of chicken, legs, thighs and wings–bone in, skin on preferably
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and de-ribbed and chopped into small pieces
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped or put through a press
- Salt and pepper, about a teaspoon of each
- 1-3 cups chicken broth or water
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, butter or ghee
- 2 or 3 tablespoons curry powder, Caribbean yellow if you have it, or Madras Curry Powder
- Wash and dry chicken pieces. If the thighs are large, cut them in half. Put pieces in a big bowl and sprinkle well with salt and pepper.
- Mix cilantro, jalapeño, onion, garlic and 1 cup of chicken broth and pour over the chicken. Mix well to coat pieces.
- Refrigerate and let marinate a minimum of one hour up to 24 hours. Stir occasionally.
- When you're ready to make the chicken, heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, butter or ghee in a large frying pan or a dutch oven.
- When the fat is hot, remove chicken pieces from the marinade, getting as much of the solids off as you can and add to your pan. Reserve the marinade.
- On medium high heat, cook chicken 10 minutes to brown the first side then flip over and cook 10 minutes to brown the other side. The chicken skin will stick some so use a spatula to get under each piece to flip it over. Don't worry about the skin stuck to the pan, it will loosen when you add the marinade.
- Remove a few tablespoons of fat from the pan before you do the next step.
- When the chicken is nice and brown on both sides, add the reserved marinade to the pan and let it cook about 8 or 10 minutes over medium heat. If the pan is getting too dry, add more chicken broth.
- Now add the 2 tablespoons curry powder. Swirl it around in the sauce and add about another cup of chicken broth scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. You want to make a nice sauce, not thin and watery but spoonable. Taste sauce and adjust seasonings. Add more curry powder if you like more spice. Spoon sauce over the chicken pieces.
- Let it all cook over medium to medium-low heat about another 15 or 20 minutes to let the flavors blend.
- Serve with steamed rice, quinoa, rice and peas or cous-cous.
- Let’s talk peppers for a moment. I’m a wimp and a jalapeño is about as hot as I’ll go. If you’re a pepper ninja, try scotch bonnet, habanero, or any kind you like. If you’re a total heat wimp just leave ’em out. The dish will still be loaded with flavor.
- I didn’t have any Caribbean or Jamaican Curry so I used what I had but I am going to get this one: Blue Mountain Country Curry. I only had Madras Curry Powder on hand which is an Indian curry but it’s mighty delicious. So, use what you have. I haven’t tried this with a Thai-style curry paste but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work.
- If you’re cooking this for a crowd, double your ingredients and then brown it in 2 or 3 batches and keep the chicken warm in a roasting pan in a 300 degree oven. When all the chicken is cooked, pour out the fat from the pan and add the marinade and extra chicken broth to your pan and scrape up all those flavorful brown bits. Let the marinade cook down for several minutes, add the curry, stir it around and then put all your chicken pieces into a large pot or dutch oven that can hold it. Pour the sauce over the chicken adding more broth so it’s wet enough. Let it all cook for another 15 or 20 minutes and then serve.