Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Cook with Bless: Chicken Curry and Cashew Curry


Bless' Chicken Curry

I have been asked if I had a recipe for curry and considering how often I make chicken curry, I was positive I had posted a recipe earlier, but, when I did a search of my past posts, I didn't find one!  So, as I was making a chicken curry for dinner, last night, I thought I will take some photos and write out a few directions.

First, a few side notes:

Curry is the term for a type of dish, just like stew or casserole and just like stew or casseroles, you can have different curries and different ways of preparing the same type of curry.  So, my chicken curry is different from my friend's chicken curry and my daughter's chicken curry.  Some of the changes are due to the spices other ingredients used as well as the method of cooking (I add tomato to my chicken curry and saute the chicken pieces a bit at first and then, cook them; others don't add tomato or saute the chicken).

Curry is usually made with curry powder, which is a blend of various spices, but, the basics are a blend of coriander, cumin, and fennel.  To this basic blend, various other spices are added to make different blends of curry powders.  If the ingredients are roasted first before being powdered, you get "roasted curry powder", if they are not roasted, you get "raw curry powder".  You can also get something called "dark roasted curry powder" which gives a darker curry powder with a stronger taste and this is usually my favorite blend for the majority of my curries. 

I used to buy all the different spices and make my own curry powder, but, that was years ago.  These days, I have become lazy and I buy premade curry powders, usually from a Sri Lankan or Indian store.  

And finally, when it comes to curries, I don't have a specific recipe that I follow and I don't measure my ingredients.  What I have is a method and approximations.  It drove my daughter crazy when I first taught her how to cook because I'd say, "Add some curry powder" and she'd ask, "How much?" and I couldn't tell her the specific amounts.  So, I'd say, "About this much" and shake some out of the bottle into a dish and she would measure it.  These days, she is a more experienced cook and she, too, eyeballs the amounts of curry powder and other ingredients.

Having said all that, here's my chicken curry "recipe":

Ingredients - for each 1 lb. chicken, 

1 heaping teaspoon of curry powder (I use a regular teaspoon, not measuring spoons)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. chili powder/cayenne pepper powder (depends on how hot you want it)
salt to taste
1/4 -1/2 small onion, sliced or chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled, cut up or left whole
curry leaves, fresh or dried, about 4 or 5 leaves; substitute a bay leaf if you don't have curry leaves or can be omitted, too
1/2 - 1 small tomato - optional (can use canned tomatoes, too)
a few pieces of pandan leaf (I used frozen) - optional
1-2 green chilies (such as serrano peppers) if you like more heat
1 small piece fresh ginger (I didn't have fresh ginger, so used ground ginger)
1 small piece lemon grass - optional (I didn't have lemon grass, so skipped it)
1-2 cardamom pods
1-2 cloves
1 tablespoon of oil (any type of oil; I use vegetable oil)
1/4 - 1/2 cup coconut milk or equivalent (dairy milk, nut milk, oat milk, etc.)
a little lime or lemon juice (I use lemon because that's what I have)


Add the curry powder, chili powder, and a little salt to the pieces of raw chicken, stir to coat the pieces and leave aside to marinate for 20 to 30 minutes (or longer in the fridge; can be left overnight in the fridge, if you prefer).  This step is not an absolute must, but, I like to marinate it a bit before cooking.

Chicken Pieces Marinating

While the chicken is marinating, prepare the other ingredients - peel and cut the onion, peel the garlic, cut the tomato, etc.  I am using some of the last of my homegrown tomatoes (from the 2021 garden!) that I cut up and froze; I didn't thaw it prior to cooking.

Additional Ingredients: A sprig of curry leaves, a few pieces of 
pandan leaves, green chilies, garlic, chopped onion, tomato

Add a small amount of oil (I used vegetable oil) to the pan you are using to cook the chicken:

Vegetable Oil in Pan

Add the curry leaves, pandan leaves (if used), green chilies, cloves, cardamoms, lemon grass (if used) fresh ginger (I used ground ginger and added it to the chicken marinade) and onions to the oil and saute for a minute or so (doing this will flavor the oil), then, add the chicken and the garlic and saute for a few minutes:

Chicken and Other Ingredients Being Sauteed

If you choose not to saute, then, add the chicken and other ingredients to a pan with a little bit of water and bring to a boil, covered.

Once the chicken has sauteed for about 5 minutes, I added a little water (about 1/2 cup for this amount of chicken), covered the pan, and let it cook for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked, inside.  The chicken will release some water as it cooks and covering the pan will retain the moisture.  I stir the chicken once or twice while it cooks, to make sure it is cooking evenly.

The Chicken As It Cooks

After it has cooked for about 15 minutes, add the coconut milk (or any other milk of your choice).  

Immediately after the coconut milk was added

Stir to distribute the milk evenly and bring it to a boil, then, add a little lime or lemon juice.  Taste test to see if more salt is needed.  If the curry is too spicy, add a little more milk to tone it down a bit.  

Chicken Curry

This would be served with rice and side dishes of vegetables.  Or, with roti or any other type of flat bread.  I don't remove the curry leaves or the pandan leaves before serving; if any get on the plate, then, they may be moved to the edge of the plate (curry leaves, however, are edible and are supposed to be very good for you).

This same basic "method" could be used to make any other meat curry.  I would, however, add some tamarind to a beef curry (to soften the meat; tamarind can be added to a chicken curry, too, but, I don't).

Today, I made a cashew curry as requested by my daughter.  I put the raw cashews to soak overnight (about 3/4 lbs.), then, drained that water, rinsed the soaked cashews, added enough water to cover them, and boiled them with turmeric, salt, curry leaves, chopped onions, a couple of green chilies, and a little bit of raw curry powder.  Once they had cooked, I added some coconut milk and lemon juice to it:

Cashew Curry

This type of curry would be considered a "white" curry, even though it is yellow in color, because it doesn't have any dried red chili powder to color it red.  Potatoes would be cooked in this manner to make a potato curry.  

Hope you enjoyed the recipes and maybe try them.  


  1. Love hearing about your 'recipe' and seeing the photos! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for the detailed recipe. I'm sure lots of us will want to try it.

    1. You are welcome, Bushlady. Let me know if you do try it. :)

  3. Interesting to see your method and photos. I've never had a chicken curry with the meat on the bone though, isn't it a bit messy to eat? Hope you don't think that's a rude question.

    1. You can always substitute boneless chicken. :) Traditionally, we eat rice and curry with our fingers (I suppose that can be considered messy although we don't consider it to be) and it is easy to remove the meat from the bones, or, if using cutlery, then, we just cut the meat from the bones as we eat. :)

  4. Thank you for posting these. Both look delicious! I'd not heard of cashew curry before. It looks like something I'd really like so will definitely try it.

    1. You are welcome, Celie. Sometimes, people add green peas to the cashew curry, but, I tend to leave it out.

  5. We're not very experienced with making curry, but my husband said he'd like to eat more of it just yesterday. So this post is very timely. We will definitely try it. Thanks.

    1. You are welcome, June. If you don't like it too hot, you can reduce the amount of chili powder and your family can add some hot sauce when they are eating. :)

  6. I will add this recipe to the rota for next month. I always use boned chicken and don't often add coconut milk to my curries but it will be nice to have a change. I'll let you know how I get on. xx

    1. You can definitely use boned chicken and coconut milk is not an absolute requirement, but, it's how I learned to make chicken curry. I've added regular dairy milk, too, when I didn't have coconut milk, but, coconut milk was what we used "back home". :)

    2. I usually do a tomato based gravy and don't add milk at all. Will a coconut milk curry freeze well?

    3. I think the tomato based gravy is more Indian style. Yes, coconut milk curry freezes well. I freeze my chicken curry all the time. Thaw in the fridge overnight or can be microwaved, too.

    4. Thanks Bless, I'll give it a try.

  7. both dishes looks delicious, I am going to try it out, and let you know how it goes. Thanks!

    1. You are welcome, Jozien. Hope you enjoy making and eating the curries. :)

    2. Hi we just ate the left overs of the curry i made. It was good, but not perfect. I was able to get the lemon grass, but had never cooked with it. I only discarded the outer blade, and cut it with my ulu (as fine as i could) Now, because i cook alot with forage food, we are used to spit out woody bits. Yes there where woody bits. I wonder if there is a trick? Ha and i want to say did add a bit of foraged food, spruce tips ( harvested in spring). I felt it's taste would complement your dish and it did.

    3. Hi Jozien, glad to hear that you tried the curry and you thought it was good, not perfect. What might have made it better for you? Maybe, if there is a next time, you can make a few adjustments to the ingredients to make it better for you.
      As for the lemon grass, I'm so sorry I didn't describe how to use it! I usually discard the outer blade, as you did, and then, I split the lemon grass stem down the middle or quarter it and add it to the curry. That way, it is easier to remove the pieces when you are eating. I like how you customized the curry to your taste with the addition of spruce tips! I have not tried that and now I am curious how it would taste! :)

  8. These 2 curries sound delicious!! Sadly, I'm unable to digest "heating" spices like ginger, since my stomach operation. But I know that one can always leave out/ substitute.

    1. Yes, you can always omit/substitute, Ratnamurti. Leave the ginger out and it will be fine. You can leave the garlic out, too, if you prefer. Curry is very accommodating in that way. :)

  9. Ah! Coincidence! After your recent talk about chicken curry I fancied it myself and made some on Tuesday! I had the leftovers yesterday! I use a Maharashtran recipe which also includes coconut, but from a block. And it calls for yoghurt too. Next time, I will try it with coconut milk (or maybe even follow your whole recipe for a bit of a change ... minus tomatoes of course).

    1. Nice to hear that you, too, made a chicken curry, Lady Ella. I have not made chicken curry with yogurt, but, I have huge tub of yogurt and maybe I should try that! I imagine that it would make a nice, thick gravy! :) Yes, do omit the tomatoes if you are making my curry recipe. :)

  10. I can't wait to incorporate some of your directions into my cooking. Thank you for taking the time to do such a nice detailed post about how you make your chicken curry and also the notes at the end for the white curries.
    yummy stuff :)

    1. Thank you, Debra; glad you found it helpful. :)


Thank you for visiting my blog and commenting. Your comments are much appreciated. Please comment in English. Thank you.