Grandmother’s Chicken Curry

So my wife would be returning home from Taipei with my mother-in-law late Monday night/early Tuesday morning (2 Aug).   By the time we got home from the airport, it would be well past 2 AM.  But I thought, gee, they might not have had a good meal.  So I thought about what I could make that would impress my mother-in-law that would be satisfying, easy to prepare ahead and easy to do a quick reheat.  I finally settled on my late grandmother’s recipe for chicken curry on rice (and no, I wasn’t going to use the boxed curry mixes (see )).  I would make it from scratch using the curry powder (see  So here’s how my grandmother used to make it before the advent of the boxed curry mixes –

1 large  potato, peeled
2 large  carrots, peeled
1 large  onion (I use vidalias)
1 lb     boneless, skinless chicken thighs
8 tablespoons   canola oil
4 tablespoons   cornstarch (1 tbls/cup of water)
3 tablespoons   curry powder (S&B)
4 cups   water
8 tablespoons  soy sauce

1. small dice the potatoes
2. medium dice the onion
3. thin cut carrots on a bias (about 1/8″ thick)
4. large dice the chicken
5. pre-heat (high heat) a wok and then before adding 4 tbls of oil lower to 50%
max power, then add 1 tbls of curry powder, stir until  fragant.
6. Add chicken, stir in the curry/oil and sear all over;
place into a large stock pot.
7. Repeat step 5 (at 50% max power).
8. Add diced onions and stir fry (sweat the onions)
9. Add carrots and stir fry until just tender.  Transfer wok contents to stock pot
10. Add 3 cups of water to stock pot
11. Add diced potatoes to stock pot
12. Add remaining curry powder to stock pot with soy sauce
13. Bring to a simmer and cook covered for 25 minutes
14. Mix 1 cup of water with 4 tbls of cornstarch and add to the stock pot (this
will thicken the liquid in the pot to a sauce).

Serve over white rice.

Since the passing of my grandmother and the codification of this recipe, I’ve made several small changes.  Instead of regular soy, I now use usukuchi soy. Instead of canola oil, I now used rice oil. I’ve also since replaced the regular yellow onions with vidalias and instead of the russets my family  used to use in making this dish, I’ve substituted in yukon golds.

Since I would be cooking for 3, I chose to alter this recipe with the following changes –

My wife and my mother-in-law say that they don’t like very thick sauce, so I cut the starch slurry by half (2 T starch)

I used 2 large vidalia’s and large yukon golds, cleaned, peeled, medium dice.

2 Vidalia onions for the curry

2 large potatoes for the curry

I then cleaned peeled, thin biased cut 4 large carrots,  and then cut up 2 lbs of boneless skinless

4 large carrots thin bias sliced

chicken thighs  into quarters (they’ll shrink during cooking)

2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs cut up

Curry oil infusion (do not let this burn!)

Chicken seared in the curry oil and moved to stockpot

After I moved the chicken to the stockpot, I repeated the curry oil infusion step in the wok and then added the onions and sweated them down.  Cooking the onions took about 10 minutes at 50% max power and then I added the carrots and cooked the combination for a further 5-6 minutes and transferred the wok contents to the stockpot.

Sweating down the onions in the second batch of curry oil

Adding the 4 bias cut carrots

Everything tossed into the stock pot including the water, usukuchi soy, and last tablespoon of curry powder, but no thickener

Once everything was in the pot, I added the water, and soy. I’ve found that for proper ‘salting’, for the chicken curry there needed to be about 2 tablespoons of  usukuchi soy/cup of liquid.  I then  brought the whole thing to a boil, reduced the heat to about 50% max power and cooked it covered for about 25 minutes.

Chicken curry over rice…

As it would turn out, my wife and mother-in-law had a quick helping of the chicken curry after we got back from the airport (at 3 AM!) as I got to sleep (I had to be at work a few hours later!).  As I briefly heard later, my mother-in-law loved this preparation of the chicken curry and rice.

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