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Persons of East Indian descent account for about half the population of Trinidad. Trinidadians curry a variety of foods from meat to vegetables to fruit. A curry is basically a mixture of ground spices that varies according to region and by personal taste. It may seem obvious but a good Trini curry quite simply to uses a Trinidad blend of curry powder. Since I cannot advertise any particular brand, feel free to email me for the names of some good Trini curries. Finally here is the Trini cook's 'secret'. It is important to cook the spices for a few minutes to bring out the flavours of the curry. A common mistake is to throw in the meat too soon after adding the spices and not giving them time to release their flavour. A curry that has had time to cook a bit before the addition of the meat has a more full bodied taste. Locally this process is called 'choonkay-ing' the curry.
- 1 (3 -4 lb) whole chickens
- 1⁄2 lime
- 4 garlic cloves (crushed or minced)
- 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon scotch bonnet pepper (substitute habenero)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 -4 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 tablespoon garam masala (optional)
- 1 cup water
Green Seasoning Marinade (use 2 tbsp)
- 4 tablespoons chives
- 4 tablespoons spanish thyme
- 4 tablespoons French thyme
- 1 tablespoon fresh culantro (substitute 2 bunches cilantro)
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
- 10 pimento pepper (seeded)
- Cut chicken into small pieces.
- Mix in the lime juice with your hands. Rinse the chicken with cold water and drain again.
- Pat dry with paper towels.
- Add green seasoning, salt and hot pepper.
- Marinate 30 minutes or preferably overnight.
- Mix curry powder with 1/4 cup water until smooth.
- Heat oil in an iron or heavy pot and add garlic.
- When garlic is fragrant add the curry paste mixture to hot oil and ('choonkay') or cook until all the water has evaporated, stirring constantly so that the curry does not scorch. This step is 'secret' for developing a nicely flavoured curry.
- Add chicken and stir to coat in curry. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of water so that the chicken is just covered by the water. Bring to a boil then lower heat to medium; cover and cook until meat is tender and sauce is reduced by one-third.(about 30 mins); add more water if more sauce is required. Sauce should be thick and not overly watery.
- Adjust salt and hot pepper.