Rani’s Mauritian Chicken Curry
A well made Mauritian Chicken Curry is a dish that is hard to beat. The aroma and flavours are just unmatched, my mouth starts to water when I think of it. Of course it is best served with parathas, an Indian style flatbread known as faratas in Mauritius. During the current pandemic, as I spend more time at home, I find myself thinking more about the foods of my youth.
This dish is very special to me as it was first taught to me before I left Mauritius to study in Canada in 1992. My uncle’s mother in law showed me how to make it one evening. She has since passed away but this dish always reminds me of her. One of my main goals with Rani’s Cuisine is to preserve and keep the traditional foods and recipes alive as many are being lost with the younger generation not knowing how to prepare them.
In that sense, my dislike of the food in the university when I was a student was a blessing in disguise as I learned to make more of the traditional foods of my childhood and youth which eventually led to the creation of Rani’s Cuisine.
They say that any dish is only as good as the ingredients that goes into it and in this case it is certainly true. It is important to use a free range chicken, a heritage one is the best if you have access to it and fresh, high quality spices. I like to use bone-in chicken because the bones add a lot of flavour but that is completely up to you.
First of all, I will provide the recipe for the Mauritian Curry Powder as it is essential for the authentic taste. I will afterwards share the recipe for the Mauritian Chicken Curry.
Mauritian Curry Powder:
500g coriander seeds
50g cumin seeds
15g black peppercorns
10g fennel seeds
7g cinnamon quills
20g raw rice
25g cardamom pods
100g turmeric powder
The amount of turmeric powder you need depends on the type of turmeric that you have. If you have the type of turmeric known as Alleppey Turmeric or High Curcumin, then you would only need about 50g, otherwise, if you are using the commonly available one, use 100g.
This recipe makes quite a large amount but I like to roast the whole spices and then grind and add turmeric as required.
In a dry frying pan over medium-low heat, toast whole spices and rice individually until they are lightly toasted and the aroma rises. Combine together and cool to room temperature before grinding in a coffee grinder. Sift to remove any fibrous bits and add turmeric powder to reach a nice yellowish brown colour.
Rani’s Mauritian Chicken Curry
Cooking Time: 60 Minutes. Makes 6 Servings
2 kg chicken pieces
A splash of vegetable oil
1 1/2 chopped tomatoes
10 curry leaves
1 large golden shallot
1 green chilli
1 teaspoon crushed fresh ginger
1 teaspoon crushed fresh garlic
2-3 tablespoons Mauritian Curry Powder
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
1 teaspoon garam masala
salt to taste
Coriander leaves to garnish
Make a paste with the Mauritian curry powder and some water. Allow to sit while preparing the other ingredients. Combine chicken pieces with 1/2 of the ginger, half of the garlic and a little salt. Allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
Peel and slice golden shallot and green chillies.
Heat oil over medium heat, and add shallots. When they turn translucent, add ginger, garlic, curry leaves and stir for a few minutes.
Add chicken pieces and stir until lightly browned and covered with the shallot mixture.
Add tomato and salt to taste and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Add curry powder and about 400 ml of water. Bring to a simmer and add potato pieces. Lower heat.
Simmer, stirring occasionally until chicken and potatoes are cooked through. Turn off stove and stir in garam masala. Garnish with coriander leaves.