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Friday, December 9, 2011

Chicken Curry a la KS Augustin

Stick around. I am going to take you all over the world for Christmas. Santa ain't got nothing on me. Today I'm taking you to Malaysia.

If I could kidnap KS Augustin, she would be my cooking slave for life. I'm always on the prowl for curry recipes.

This particular recipe is great because after a while your taste buds get tired of the same old fare. Shake it up with this little gem.

Basic Chicken Curry

You'd like to try something different, right? The problem is, there are so many extra ingredients you need to buy! Relax. I'm here to give you a South Indian-ish curry recipe that tastes delicious and only requires you to put two extra things on your grocery list: cinnamon sticks (which you may already have for some seasonal drinks) and curry powder.

If the thought of powder in a packet bothers you, choose one of those wet mixes in a jar you find on your supermarket shelf. Don't go for a εΎ’orma! We're cooking with punch today so, if you're using powder, pick one for a gutsy meat curry Madras, Rogan Josh, even a plain generic...that's the one I use. If you're splurging and going for a wet mix, choose something reddish brown, rich and mysterious. Ready? Let's do it!

2 large onions, diced
3 large cloves garlic, sliced
3-4 tablespoons curry powder (be brave!), mixed to a paste with some water OR a jar of pre-mixed curry paste
(Only if you have it, a small handful of curry leaves OR a bay leaf. You can leave it out altogether)
1 chicken, cut into pieces
4 medium potatoes, cut into quarters
4 medium tomatoes, roughly chunked
4-5 tablespoons of evaporated milk OR cream OR milk OR half-and-half
Salt and sugar

  1. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a deep saucepan and add onions, garlic and curry/bay leaves, if using. Stir until golden, taking care not to let the garlic burn.
  2. Add the curry paste, stirring occasionally.
  3. When you see oil separating from the paste, add the chicken, potatoes and tomatoes.
  4. Add enough water to cover. Stir.
  5. Cook till potatoes are done.
  6. Turn off heat, add evaporated milk. Stir.
  7. Season with salt and a pinch of sugar.

That's it! Your Thanksgiving pumpkin pie was probably more complicated to put together! Note:

      Unless it's a dessert, wherever you see coconut milk in a recipe, you can safely substitute with half the amount of evaporated milk/cream/half'n'half/regular milk, without affecting the taste. Really.
      Did you notice the sugar and wonder what it's doing in a curry recipe? That's the secret nobody will tell you (except me!). Creamy meat and fish curries always taste better with a pinch (but only a pinch!) of sugar added.
      Don't get hung up on ingredients. Use your common sense and substitute where you can. Most recipes can tolerate quite a bit of leeway.

This curry is delicious with buttered toast and I highly recommend it for breakfast (especially if there's no kick-arse Huevos Rancheros around)! What do you think? Will you try it out?

(Kaz Augustin writes SFR, space opera and urban fantasy (under the name Cara d'Bastian). Her website is, she self-publishes through and the urban fantasy series website is at Have a great Christmas all and may 2012 be a successful one for everyone!)

Back to you, M!

Okay, guys. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of The Check Your Luck Agency.  (You'll like this one. Honest!)

A couple of questions from moi: Do we have any curry lovers out there? Can anyone tells me why Thai curry tastes different from Indian curry?

NOTE: For other DIY Christmas posts, go here. Be sure to leave a comment because there are goodies involved. All contests end 12-22-11, so keep commenting.


Anonymous said...

I love curry dishes...the fam not so much. My curry powder is probably blah from lack of use, LOL

I have no idea why Thai is different from them both :)

Thanks for the recipe!

Angela Brown said...

Sounds like such a great recipe and that picture has my tummy in an uproar to taste it :-)
Please excuse me while I clean up the mess my drool made (lol!!)

Cate Masters said...

I love dishes with curry, Indian or Thai, but seldom eat it because the family's so picky.
You raised my curiosity, Maria, so I had to Google it (must be the old reporter in me) - coconut milk's used in Thai, and yogurt in Indian curry, though the recipes vary widely for both.
Thanks for the recipe! Happy holidays!

Cathy in AK said...

Yummmmm! Love curry! Indian, Thai, whatever! I tone down the heat for the kids, but often kick it up a notch for me and DH :)

Thanks for the recipe, Kaz!

LD Masterson said...

This one will be a stretch for me, we don't do a lot of curry at home but it sures sounds worth the effort.

Tracy Jo said...

I love curry but have been afraid to try recipes. I will definitely try this one! I am loving traveling the world through food with you. Great idea.

Nadja Notariani said...

My husband loves curry dishes! (I'm a fan, too, but my fam's Lebanese fare is much more to my liking)
I will most definitely try your curry recipe, it seems quite simple, and with my busy life and three sons in the house...simple is my favorite word!

Thanks for the chance to win, too!

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

oh god. I LOVE chicken curry SO MUCH!! Om Nom Nom

Jenny Schwartz said...

Kaz, I'm so glad someone finally said it's ok to use curry powder. So tired of the people who stick their nose in the air and claim it's only for people who don't know **** about food. Curry powder and me are old friends. But I was very interested to hear I can substitute plain milk for times I've forgotten to buy coconut milk.

Cara said...

Hi all and thanks for your comments. MOST curries are really simple, it's only the snobs that make it so difficult. After all, it is a basic food for so many people. Can you imagine your average worker spending hours over the stove just to produce ONE lentil curry? It doesn't work like that.

Thai curries use a lot more fresh herbs than Indian, M, and the range of herbs is different. While there are some elements in common (ginger, chilli), Indians tend to fenugreek, cumin and mustard seeds...elements that were part of the spice trade. Thais use fresh herbs that are plentiful in their region - lemongrass, Thai basil, Vietnamese mint, galangal, candlenut. Both Thais and Indians use milk (coconut or otherwise) to varying degrees.

And you know, I shouldn't say this, but I'm quite partial to a bit of Japanese curry on occasion, light to zilch on the MSG though.

* Jenny, I use regular milk in my home-made curry laksa gravy. Doesn't make any difference.

Kaz (er, under Cara's account)

Maria Zannini said...

Kaz/Cara: (You really need to do something about your split personality. LOL)

Sorry, I've been so late responding. Bad internet connection.

I should've snapped to the use of different herbs and spices. I love both, but I couldn't put my finger on what made them different. I knew Thai was a little sweeter and assumed it had to do with the coconut milk.

But I've never tried Japanese curry. I must put that on my bucket list--or rather, my plate list.

Thanks so much for being here. I loved this recipe!

Dru said...

Looks delicious although I'm not a fan of curry.

Dee said...

I love curry, but I hate to cook... Maybe I can convince someone to make it for me. :)

Cozy in Texas said...

I have to try this - it looks wonderful.

Clarissa Draper said...

That looks so good! I love curry.

Mike Keyton said...

I think Curry is replacing Fish and Chips as Britain's national dish. And I love Madras, and Rogan Josh, so this is a winner. Mind I was intrigued by the evaporated milk. Just goes to show what creative people true cooks are.

Romance Reader said...

Looks yummy! I Love curries! Will definitely be trying this recipe.

Renee Miller said...

We've never had curried anything, so I'll try this. Nothing can be worse than my regular dishes, right?

Kaz Augustin said...

So happy to see so many willing to give this one a go. It's super-easy and I hope it encourages the average cook to be a little more adventurous.

Renee, if this is your very first curry, hold back with the curry powder and use only half the quantity, and increase the amount of tomatoes and milk by 50% each. That should be a "soft landing" for you. :)

Mike, let's swap. You can have this recipe if I can have some real Fish and Chips! I sit and daydream about it some days. Srsly.

Southpaw said...

I can't believe I missed this post. It's just yummy.