Caribbean Inspired Curried Chicken Roti
March 3, 2016 • Meat & Poultry
Whenever I travel, I am always captured by at least one dish that I fall in love with and can’t wait to learn to make when I return home. On my recent trip to Sicily it was the pasta dishes: Sicilian style pesto and the classic simple aglio olio. This trip, while blissfully sailing through the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, it was the classic curry wrap called Chicken Roti. I had seen it on every menu since we arrived, and when I found our group dining on the beach at The Sandbox, on Prickly Pear Island, I asked our waiter Lall if he recommended it. He said, “Have you ever had it?”, and I replied, “No.” He asked if I liked curry, said it was good, and I knew I was in. After just the first bite, I was hooked, and ordered it at least 2 more times on our trip. I knew this would be the dish I had to make within my first days back home.To be fair, I only made the chicken curry, as my roti (the actual wraps) turned out horribly. I made curry spices from scratch following Emeril’s recipe, but you can buy prepared curry powder if you don’t have time. Start by letting the spices meld with the raw chicken for a bit, then brown in a large Dutch oven. (NOTE: Because my scale terrified me when I returned from vacation, I made my recipe with skinless and boneless chicken, but in hindsight I think this should be made with skin on, bone in chicken, and remove the skin and bones at the end. That would produce better flavor, and I’ve written the instructions below this way.)After you have a nice brown on the meat, remove it to a platter briefly and sauté the vegetables – onion, garlic, jalapeño (or Scotch bonnet or serrano if you are braver than I!) in the same pot.Return the chicken to the pot along with a can of drained chickpeas, chicken broth, coconut milk, and diced potatoes. Simmer for an hour or two until the meat falls from the bone.Remove the chicken pieces to a cutting board to cool until you can handle them, then remove and discard the skin and bones and roughly shred the meat and return it to the liquid in the pot; stir in cilantro. I served this over rice since my roti were a flop – and it was completely delicious that way. You can purchase prepared wraps to serve this in, or try this recipe, which looks very authentic. Or just dig into the curry bowl with a spoon and don’t look back!
- 1 chicken, cut into pieces (skin and bones left on)
- 4-6 tablespoons curry powder
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 1 jalapeño, minced (I removed the seeds as my curry powder was homemade and contained chile flakes already)
- 1½ cups diced potatoes
- 1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened light coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Sprinkle half of the curry powder over the chicken pieces in a medium bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the canola oil; season with salt and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Heat the remaining oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat; when hot, brown the chicken well on all sides, then remove to a platter to hold. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapeño to the pot and salute for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the potatoes and chickpeas and stir together, then return the chicken pieces to the pot. Add the stock, coconut milk, and brown sugar and stir gently to combine.
- Cover, bring to a simmer, and cook for 1-2 hours, until the meat is falling from the bones. Remove from heat and remove the chicken pieces to a cutting board to cool until you can handle them. Remove and discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Stir the shredded meat back into the pot along with the cilantro. Season with salt to taste, and serve over rice or in a roti wrap.