Caribbean Potato Curry

The ingredient list for this recipe is somewhat lengthy, but chances are good that if you’re making this sauce,

you’re already working on other Caribbean dishes, and you have most of what we’ll use.  The best example of ‘other Caribbean dishes’ that use almost the same ingredients would be Jamaican jerk wet rub http://chefnotebook.blogspot.com/2012/08/jerk-marinade.html.  One of my all – time favorites to make and cook.

Caribbean flavors are of course tropical flavors, and have a lot in common with those used in Polynesian cooking, southeast Asian cooking, Indonesian cuisine, and Indian cuisine.  Coconut milk, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, hot peppers, green onions, garlic… it’s wonderful, and your home will smell like a spice store while you’re cooking.

Which isn’t a bad thing.

This particular ‘curry’ is somewhat of a cross between Indian and Thai curry.  It’s the best of both worlds and 100% Caribbean.  A chicken base is made and reduced, coconut milk is added and the whole thing is simmered in a rich blend of spices and herbs until thick and balanced.  White yams are gently cooked and added a la minute with sliced scallions.  It’s a perfect side dish for any feast in the islands.   I can almost hear the steel drums in the background.  It can also easily become the star of the meal- add chicken thighs, shrimp, lamb or goat (which is traditional Caribbean) and it becomes an intense and complete ‘stew’.

To simplify the recipe, I have broken it down into 3 easy parts:

  • The Base
  • The Sauce
  • The Finish
Viewed in its entirety, the process is complex and tedious.  Looked at individually, each step is easy and manageable.

Caribbean Potato Curry.

Prep time:  15 minutes
Cook time:  2 hours
Yield:  Enough for 4

Ingredients:

1/2 lb chicken backs, wings, bones or giblets
1/2 onion, rough chop
1 carrot, rough chop
1 rib celery, rough chop
1 knob of ginger, thick sliced
2 dry or 3 fresh habanero or scotch bonnet peppers
3 green onions, rough chop plus 2 thin sliced for finishing
1 tbsp whole allspice
1 tsp whole cumin
4 each cloves
1 stick cinnamon
1 tbsp whole dried corriander seed
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp curry powder
2 medium sized white sweet potatoes, 1/2 inch dice
1 tbsp siracha hot sauce
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup white wine
kosher salt
vegetable oil

Method:

Step 1, the base:

In a medium heavy bottom sauce pan, begin browning the chicken.  When nicely browned, add the onion, green onion, carrot, celery and ginger.  Brown the vegetables with the chicken.  Add the white wine, the allspice, corriander, cumin, cinnamon and peppers.  Reduce the wine by 3/4.  Add enough water to almost cover everything.  Simmer until reduced by half.  Strain the whole thing, return the broth to the pot and reduce again by half.  This is the base.

Step 2, the sauce:

Place the base over high heat and quickly reduce until slightly thick (there won’t be much liquid left, which is perfect).  Add the coconut milk, lime juice, siracha, curry powder and a good pinch of salt.  Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low (coconut milk over high heat will quickly boil over making a mess).  Simmer slowly until thick.  This is the sauce.

Step3, the finish:

Place the potatoes in another sauce pot, barely cover with cold water and add a good pinch of salt.  Bring to a simmer and simmer until fork tender.  Drain well.   Add a little oil to a saute pan and begin cooking the potatoes.  Season again with a little salt.  When the potatoes begin to slightly brown, add the sauce and reduce heat to low.  Cook over low heat until thick and the potatoes are tender.  Check seasoning and adjust as necessary.  Add scallions and serve right away.

Best served with jerk chicken, steamed rice, simmered greens, beans and red stripe beer.

Enjoy.

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