Another gift that we made for our relatives this year were spice blends. Jeth and I are both spice and seasoning lovers, and we thought it would be nice to share that part of our lives with our extended family. We made our own “signature” curry powder and chili powder (more on the chili powder in a few days). Our international friends here at WVU got us hooked on curry a couple of years ago, and now it’s one of our standby meals. We used to buy pre-mixed curry powder, but our spice collection here has gotten so out of hand that we have all the ingredients to make our own now, and can make it to our exact preferences.
The ingredient list for this curry powder is long, but I think you’d get a pretty good result with just the cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
Curry Powder – Makes about 1/3 cup, enough for 2 small or 1 large batch of chicken curry
1 T. ground cumin
1/4 c. ground coriander
1 1/2 t. turmeric
1/4 t. ground mustard seed
1 t. fenugreek
3/4 t. cayenne pepper (you could leave this out for a sweet curry powder)
1/4 t. ground fennel seed
2 t. salt
A few shakes of white and black pepper (leave out the white if you can’t find it – not a big deal), and ground cinnamon.
Mix all ingredients together – will keep for quite a while in sealed jar.
Walkup-Style Chicken Curry – makes 3-4 servings
1 can coconut milk
3-4 T. curry powder
1 small onion, diced
1 pound of chicken breast or thigh, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cinnamon stick
smallish piece of star anise
2 large or 4 small potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
3 medium carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 – 3/4 cup of water or chicken broth
In large saucepan, heat the coconut milk solids (you can usually scoop them off the top of the can) until it starts to bubble. Stir in the curry powder to make a paste. Add the onion and chicken and stir until the chicken is 80% cooked. Add the potatoes, carrots, spices, remaining coconut milk, and just enough water to cover the veggies. We don’t even cover the veggies all the way, which is fine as long as you remember to stir it every once in a while. Simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes and carrots are done, stirring periodically. Serve over steamed rice (minus the star anise and cinnamon stick!).
*For a thicker sauce, you could cook this in a dutch oven or high-sided frying pan.