Massaman Chicken Curry

January 12: National Curried Chicken Day

We tend to be creatures of habit, ordering the same old foods whenever we go out to our favorite restaurants. Highlander almost always orders massaman chicken curry at Thai eateries. He loves different kinds of chicken curry that we have several recipe versions posted on our blog for National Curried Chicken Day.

Massaman curry, in particular, is derived from an archaic word “mussulman” for Muslim, which influenced Thailand’s cooking style for this curry during the early centuries of trading between the Middle East and South Asia. Curry paste is first mixed with coconut milk or cream, making this dish slightly sweeter than other curries. A 2011 CNNGo reader’s survey even ranked massaman curry #10 in its list of the “World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods”.

Following the Thai way, cook massaman chicken curry for National Curried Chicken Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Maesri)

Ingredients

  • 1 – ½ cups of chicken breast
  • 1 can (4 ounces) massaman curry paste
  • 2 cans (14 ounces each) of coconut milk, divided use
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ cup baby carrots (optional)
  • cilantro, fresh chopped (optional garnish)

Directions

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. In a large pot, stir one can of coconut milk with the curry paste. Simmer over medium heat for about five minutes.

Add the chicken and the other can of coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Add the potatoes.

Stir in the onions and baby carrots. Cover and heat until the chicken is cooked through (around 30 minutes). Garnish with cilantro. Serve hot with steamed white rice.

Notes

  • Substitute the chicken for lamb, beef or other favorite meat/protein. Muslims do not cook pork in massaman curry.
  • Search our blog for other curried chicken recipes for National Curried Chicken Day.

Curried Chicken Salad

and Sandwich

Curried Chicken Salad 

January 12: National Curried Chicken Day

Highlander has a hearty chicken salad or sandwich sometimes for lunch at work to tide him over till dinnertime. But some salads and sandwiches are bland so he likes his chunky chicken kicked up with curry flavor and slightly sweetened with slices of grapes. Celery and almonds also add a refreshing taste and crunchy texture. Our adaptation of a curried chicken recipe as a salad and sandwich is just as satifsying as a stew, which we have also prepared in the past, for National Curried Chicken Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Weight Watchers and Wonderful Ways to Prepare Chicken by Jo Ann Shirley)

Ingredients

  • 2 breasts chicken, cooked
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • ½ cup grapes
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup almonds, blanched and slivered
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • water

Directions

Coarsely chop the cooked chicken. Dice the celery. Cut the grapes in half.

Curried Chicken Salad

Chop the onions. In a mixing bowl, combine the chicken, celery, grapes and onions with the mayonnaise. Stir in the lemon juice. Mix in the almonds. Season with salt and pepper.

Curried Chicken Salad

In a small cup, make a paste with the curry powder and a little water. Mix it in with the chicken salad until well blended. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to mingle. Arrange with fresh lettuce leaves in a chilled bowl and serve as a salad. Or spread between two slices of bread and a lettuce leaf and serve as a sandwich.

Curried Chicken Salad

Notes

Hawaiian Chicken Curry

Hawaiian Chicken Curry

January 12: National Curried Chicken Day

Chicken curry is a college comfort food for Islander. She and her Sri Lankan roommate, Champa S., would eat her kukul mas (see our blog recipe post) during their university days together. When Islander moved to the mainland for an advanced education, she continued to cook chicken curry using a packaged mix in the microwave at the dorm lounge when the cafeterias were closed. She shared her version of the Hawaiian-style stew with other international residents, including hungry Highlander, during study breaks and socials.

Cooking chicken curry from a mix made for an easy microwavable meal when we got married. But the seasoning packets are not always available so Islander has been preparing Hawaiian chicken curry from scratch. For National Curried Chicken Day, our blog recipe post features a local-style stew (not the touristy-type dish containing pineapples!) that is a popular menu item at Hawaii diners, drive-ins and restaurants.

Recipe

(Adapted from The Honolulu Star-Bulletin)

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (13.5 ounces) canned coconut milk
  • 1 – 1 ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium potato, cut into small cubes
  • 1 ½ pounds chicken breast, cooked
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Directions

Boil the chicken for 15-25 minutes. Let cool and chop into bite-sized pieces. Melt the butter with the onion, garlic and ginger in a covered microwave-safe casserole dish for about 3 minutes.

Hawaiian Chicken Curry

Stir in the curry powder, flour and salt. Mix in the coconut milk and broth. Add the carrots and potatoes. Cover and microwave for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened. Check to see if the vegetables are softened and cooked through; if not, microwave for another 5-10 minutes.

Hawaiian Chicken Curry

Add the chicken to the curry sauce. Cover the casserole dish and microwave for another 3-4 minutes. Stir to coat the chicken with the curry sauce. Serve hot with a garnish of chopped cilantro.

Hawaiian Chicken Curry

Notes

  • Serve Hawaiian chicken curry over scoops of steamed white rice with a side of macaroni salad for a perfect plate lunch—local-style!
  • Search our blog for posts on other curried chicken recipes.

 

Kukul Mas

Kukul Mas

January 12: National Curried Chicken Day

One of Islander’s first college roommates, Champa S., is from Sri Lanka. From freshman to senior year, they did a lot together—from taking the same core courses and getting involved in campus ministry to studying for final exams and cooking simple meals in the dorm kitchenette. Islander’s fond food memory of Champa is when she would cook an aromatic and tasty kukul mas (Sri Lankan-style chicken curry) on Sunday evenings that would sustain us for a few days when the school week got busy with classes, part-time jobs and extra-curricular activities (there were no distractions from guys back then as we both were thinking about becoming nuns at one point in our lives—obviously, Highlander was happy that Islander changed her mind!).

Although both roomies have moved several times since graduation, they have kept in touch and even visited each other. Whenever Islander reunites with Champa in her current Maryland residence, she cooks her chicken curry for old times’ sake!

For National Curried Chicken Day, we present a kukul mas recipe inspired by Islander’s former college roommate from Sri Lanka.

Recipe

(Inspired by Champa S. and Sri Lankan Cooking)

For the Sri Lankan-style roasted curry powder

  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 1-inch cinnamon stick, crumbled
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods, seeded
  • 3 dried curry leaves
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns

Directions

Make the Sri Lankan-style roasted curry powder by frying the coriander seeds until golden brown. Stir in the cumin, turmeric, fennel, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, curry and peppercorns. Mix until they turn to a brownish color, being careful not to burn the spices. Using a mortar and pestle or blender, grind into a powder. Store in a spice bottle or jar until ready to use. This homemade blend may keep for months if tightly covered and stored in a dry place.

Kukul Mas

 

For the curried chicken

  • 3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, crushed
  • 1 piece cinnamon stick
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (we use apple cider vinegar to add a bit of sweetness)
  • 2 tablespoons Sri Lankan roasted curry powder
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil (for frying)
  • ½ – ¾ cup coconut milk

Directions

Chop the onion, mince the garlic clove and crush the ginger piece. Cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, cinnamon stick, salt and pepper, saffron, chili powder and vinegar. Sprinkle in the Sri Lankan roasted curry powder and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight to marinate the chicken.

Kukul Mas

In a sauce pan, heat the oil. Fry the chicken pieces until light browned. Stir in the cloves and cardamom pods. Reduce the heat to low, cover the sauce pan and cook until the chicken is tender (about 10 minutes). Pour in the coconut milk and stir. Simmer at medium heat for about 15-20 minutes. Ladle into a bowl. Garnish with cilanto (optional). Serve hot with rice.

Kukul Mas

Notes

  • We have enjoyed eating many versions of chicken curry with our international friends. Our blog will feature their recipes in future posts.