Saturday, April 21, 2012

Filipino-style Chicken Curry

Having a little one around, in particular one that seems to be, for the moment at least (fingers and toes resolutely crossed), enjoying the discovery of new foods, turns my thoughts to my own childhood food memories.  And, inevitably, to thoughts of recreating them for her.

Without even realizing, I have already started, as my childhood favorites have become adult favorites as well.  Monggo guisadoPancakesEgg salad. Pineapple Upside-down cakeSoft boiled eggs. Oatmeal.  CarbonaraCroquetas.  All have found their way, in some form or iteration, into this blog.

Other dishes are in my mind’s pipeline as well.  To be practiced, perfected, and chronicled here...and one day be served lovingly to little C, in the hopes that they, not only nourish her, but also live in the place where she keeps all her good memories.  My mom’s arroz caldo, that she fed me every time I was sick.  Her sopa seca, cocido, and carne frita.  Her “Royal Apahap”, proudly adapted from her well-worn copy of Nora Daza’s cookbook.  My grand-aunt’s apple pie.  My great grandmother’s, and my grandmother’s, dulce de leche (which we lovingly referred to as “toffee condensada”).  My grandmother’s pancit molo.

There is also this – the ubiquitous chicken curry of my childhood.

Filipino-style Chicken Curry
  • Canola oil
  • 700 grams – 1 kg chicken pieces (4 leg quarters, drumstick and thigh separated, or your own favorite parts)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 potatoes (about 300-350 grams total weight), peeled and cubed
  • 1 big carrot or 2 smaller ones (about 200-250 grams total weight), peeled and cubed
  • 300 grams kamote tops (sweet potato leaves), leaves picked
  • 3-4 tablespoons curry powder (depending on how strong your curry powder is)
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 1/3 cup raisins

- Heat a pot over medium high heat.  Once hot, add a few glugs of oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan.  When the oil is hot add the chicken.  Brown the chicken on all sides, no need to cook through, and set aside.
- Remove most of the oil from the pot but leave about spoonful in.  Make sure the oil is still hot then add the onions and garlic.  Sauté until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Add the potato and the carrot and toss.  Add the chicken back in the pot, sprinkle everything with the curry powder, and mix until everything is moist and coated in the curry.
- Add the coconut milk to the pot.  Stir then add the salt.  Stir again and cook, covered, for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the chicken and all the vegetables are soft.  Make sure to check your pot occasionally during the cooking time, and give it a couple of stirs, to make sure your chicken doesn’t stick or your curry doesn’t scorch.  At 30 minute mark, add the kamote tops to the pot.  Taste and adjust seasoning.
- While you curry is cooking, hard boil the eggs, peel, chop finely, and set aside.  Fry your bacon crispy, drain on paper towels, chop/crush to bits.  Place raisins, chopped egg, and bacon bits in separate bowls.  These are your toppings.
- Serve curry with steaming white rice, toppings, and chutney.

Quirkily referred to Pinoy-style (or Filipino-style) chicken curry, this was a staple in many a childhood table, at least for my generation (and possibly before).  I have no clue if it has anything at all to do with Indian curry.  I don’t actually know if there is anything distinctly Filipino about it either.  It usually has strips of red pepper as well, but I didn’t have any on hand.  The addition of kamote tops (sweet potato leaves) is mine as I thought the curry would do well with the addition of some greens.  It is served, customarily, with chopped up hard-boiled egg, bacon bits, raisins, and chutney.

As I grew up, I left this dish at the wayside in favor of the more intense, authentic Indian curries and the vibrantly flavored Thai curries.  This was a relic, a kitschy leftover from the time when we used “curry powder”...a time when I was foolishly ignorant of such things as cumin, cardamom, fenugreek, cloves, coriander, turmeric, and how they could be put together in so many exciting ways.

I don’t know what urged me to try my hand at it – a sudden craving, a big jar of curry powder that my mum-in-law brought back for me from a trip to Singapore, or simply a new mum’s wistfulness to recreate the tastes of her childhood for her own child.  Whatever the case, I am glad I did.  The simple taste of this curry brought satisfaction in our tummies and smiles on our lips.

It seems like I have some catching up to do when it comes to trying my hand at my childhood favorites…but it is a task I am looking forward to it with relish!


Mieke Zamora-Mackay said...

Pinoy-style chicken curry is almost a staple in Pinoy households. Sometimes, I am able to find a pinoy-style mix in my Asian market. I think i know what we're having for Sunday Dinner.

Dinner at Six Thirty said...

Interesting addition of bacon and raisin. I've never tried Curry like this before, will try someday! :) said...

This dish is a favorite in the family. I love bacon and became curious of what it will taste like on curry as well as the raisin. They look so yummy! I'm gonna try this =)

Berto and Kwala said...

This is interesting... I'm not really wild about raisins though... =)


Anonymous said...

In the states, what's a substitute for the kamote leaves?

Gracie said...

Yum. I wish I had some!!!

Jen Laceda | Tartine and Apron Strings said...

I enjoy any kind of curry! I like to use Roland Madras-style Curry for all my yellow "Filipino-style" or "Chinese-style" curry! The raisins are an interesting addition to me :) Should try that next time!

Midge said...

What a great way to play up a childhood favorite!

David Head said...

This looks very yummy. I think it's important to try out foods from different cultures so you get a real feel for all different types of food.

Caterers in Manchester

pavani reddy said...

awesome looks gr8888 n i m sure it tastes yummm!!!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mieke! It really is isn't it? Just the taste of it brings back memories!

Hi Dinner at Six Thirty! We usually have them as sidings and you add what you want :)

Hi Raquel! These were the usual sidings for curry, along with the hard boiled egg and chutney...sometimes we would also have fried onions :)

Hi Kwala! I must admit the raisins are my least favorite siding with the curry, but there is something about their sweetness that compliments it though :)

Hi Anonymous person! If you can't find sweet potato leaves where you are you can use spinach :)

Hi Gracie! Wish I could share it!

Hi Jen! Me too! We usually serve the raisins, bacon, and hardboiled egg on the side, and everyone just adds what they want of each :)

Hi Midge! Thanks :)

Hi David! I think so too :)

Hi Pavani! Thanks :)

Lisa @ Snappy Gourmet said...

You had me at bacon! This sounds so tasty!

Midge said...

Oh, I almost forgot, Joey: the super-dark - almost black - brown sugar I used for the recent black-sugar brownie post on my blog was something I found on the shelves at Shopwise.

Laura said...

Hey sweetie! You have a very beautiful blog with a lot of inspiring posts! I'd like to invite you to be my friend and follow each other:)

Lula said...

where's your grandmother from!! I am from argentina and we make dulce de leche there!! yum yum

Gio of The Hungry Giant said...

my mom loves to make vegetable curry, using curry powder but I also realized that using garam masala with turmeric powder does the trick as well. :D I'd actually like to know your preferred method of making dulce de leche now that you mentioned it! haha

rick vancleave said...

This looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

Jeff @ Cheeseburger said...

Wow! This chicken curry recipe looks very delicious.

love cooking said...

This looks delicious. I like the topping. It is special. I never try curry with bacon and I think raisin with curry is really good too. When cooking curry, I like to add eggplants and lady's fingers too. :)

Junglefrog said...

I certainly wish I had any of those memories too but well, my mum was a rather terrible cook and hated cooking so I only started enjoying food more after I left home..;) that chicken curry sounds amazing!

kaoko said...

There is something mindblowing for me about seeing bacon on top of curry. So wrong yet so, 'why didn't I think of that?'

ChichaJo said...

Hi Lisa! I love bacon too!

Hi Midge! Thanks!! I’ll have to look for that!

Hi Laura! Thanks :)

Hi Lula! She is from the Philippines, as am I, and we make dulce de leche here too! :)

Hi Gio! I have never made dulce de leche…it’s something my grandmothers used to make and something I have been long wanting to attempt myself! When I do finally get around to it I will be sure to post it here :)

Thanks Rick :)

Hi Jeff! Thanks!

Hi love cooking! Eggplant would be great here! The bacon and raisins are something we do here in the Philippines…I have no clue whether they actually do it anywhere else :)

Hi Simone! I only started cooking in adulthood…although I enjoyed food my whole life! :) This is a yummy but relatively mild curry…perhaps that’s why it was so popular with the kids!

Hi Kaoko! We have always had bacon as a condiment/side to this Filipino style curries at my place :) Go figure I grew up loving bacon!

Johanna Garcia said...

Oh, my, I remember this being served at home with so much fanfare in what I always assumed was a set of dishes designed especially for curry: A large bowl for the curry, surrounded by smaller bowls filled with bacon, raisins, chopped nuts, chutney, hard-boiled egg, fried onions and even fried banana. I'm sure it wasn't even remotely Indian, but sooo good!

ChichaJo said...

Jo! :) So nice to see you here :) I can picture aunt still sets it up that way! And how could I have forgotten the fried banana!!

Johanna Garcia said...

I"m mostly a lurker, but I love your blog!

Anonymous said...

This sound so delectable, I love curries! I was in the dark for a few minutes, but earlier comments have solved the mystery. Madras-style curry powder, and spinach.

My husband and I went on a bit of a tour a number of years back and were thrilled by the numbers, types and styles of curries throughout the world.

what is a blog said...

very nice pictures I love Chicken Curry thanks for share it

styl życia said...

I love chicken curry. Thanks for this recipe i'd love to try it. Great blog. Regards from Poland.