Trinidad Style Chicken Curry

Trinidad-Style Curry Chicken

I am a child of the 80s and proud of it.

  • I still listen to Tears for Fears, Alphaville, Erasure, Duran Duran, Psychedelic Furs and A Flock of Seagulls
  • At least once a year I need to watch Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Red Dawn, and Back to the Future
  • I can sing the theme song to “Greatest American Hero”
  • I did the preppie look (collar flipped up), I used Sun-in to bleach my hair and yes I had a mullet

You may wonder why I am in this 80s mood. Well, it is because of the recipe I get to share with you today. This recipe is one of the first dishes I ever learned how to make. Yes, Trinidad-style curry chicken was something I learned back in the 80s. In high school I was in the band and played alto sax and alto clarinet. I played in the concert band, jazz band, jazz quartet, and more. In the band, I had a close friend whose family was from Trinidad. Rich is a great guy and we hung out all the time. I always loved going to his house to hang out. His mom, who just so happened to work with my mom, made the most amazing food. Grace would make roti stuffed with curried meat and potatoes. It was out of this world and something completely unique to the food I usually ate.

One day I asked Grace to teach me how to make her curry chicken. She shared her recipe with me and, since then, I have made it countless times. I know that my recipe has likely evolved over the years but it is still incredibly delicious and makes me think of those days in the 80s and early 90s when I used to go over to visit.

It is interesting how times change and people move away. Neither Rich nor I live in the city we grew up in. He left Sarnia and lived a number of years in California, whereas I have been living in Toronto. One of the great things about Facebook, is it’s ability to reconnect old friends. Rich and I have connected on Facebook and kept in touch over the years. The crazy thing is, last month he moved just outside Toronto. Tomorrow we are going to connect for lunch. I haven’t seen him in years! It is gonna be great – I mean – Like Totally Awesome!!

Directions are with the photos

Wash the chicken drumsticks and peel the skin up to the knob.

Using a cleaver, or any good solid knife, chop the top part off the drumstick.

Check to see if there are any little chipped pieces of bone hanging around. Remove them, if there are, and wash them one more time.

Finish with the remaining drumsticks and place in a large bowl.

Pulse the onion, garlic, ginger, 1/2 cup cilantro and hot pepper in the food processor until finely chopped. Remove the seeds of the pepper if you do not like it really hot.

Add the curry powder and pulse it again until a curry paste is formed.

The texture should be somewhat smooth. You should not see any large chunks of anything in the paste.

Rub the curry paste all over the chicken drumsticks and place in the fridge for at least an hour to marinate.

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the marinated chicken. Brown on all sides and then add the water to create a sauce. Let the chicken simmer about 45 minutes longer. Add a little more water if the sauce gets too dry.

Trinidad Style Chicken Curry

Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped cilantro. Serve with rice or roti (if you can get them).

Print Pin
5 from 7 votes

Trinidad-Style Curry Chicken

A great West Indian curry chicken recipe. Chicken with curry paste made from onions, garlic, ginger, cilantro scotch bonnet and curry powder.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Trinidad
Keyword chicken, Curry, Trinidad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 4
Author Steve Cylka

Ingredients

  • 12 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 onion
  • 1 inch piece or ginger , peeled
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 hot pepper (scotch bonnet or habanero)
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Instructions

  • Wash the chicken drumsticks and peel the skin up to the knob.
  • Using a cleaver, or any good solid knife, chop the top part off the drumstick. Check to see if there are any little chipped pieces of bone hanging around. Remove them, if there are, and wash them one more time.
  • Pulse the onion, garlic, ginger, 1/2 cup cilantro and hot pepper in the food processor until finely chopped. Remove the seeds of the pepper if you do not like it really hot.
  • Add the curry powder and pulse it again until a curry paste is formed.
  • Rub the curry paste all over the chicken drumsticks and place in the fridge for at least an hour to marinate. Heat the oil in a skillet and add the marinated chicken. Brown on all sides and then add the water to create a sauce. Let the chicken simmer about 45 minutes longer. Add a little more water if the sauce gets too dry.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped cilantro. Serve with rice or roti (if you can get them).

About Steve Cylka

Steve is the author of The Black Peppercorn. He is a recipe developer and food photographer. His recipes have been featured on websites like Bradley Smoker, Times Picayune, Buzzfeed, and Basil & Salt. He has also authored and co-authored a couple cookbooks.

60 comments

  1. This looks totally delicious!! I’m also a child of the 80’s and I loved the song “Greatest American Hero”. The 80’s were such a great time!! How very cool that you and your friend are getting together. I can just imagine how excited you are to meet him again. I think it’s so nice his mother taught you to cook this dish (not bad for one of the first things you learned how to cook). Now I know where your love of curry comes from and it’s “totally awesome dude”. LOL… I feel old now. 🙂

  2. Hi Steve,
    This looks so good. I love the way you have cut the chicken drumsticks. Going to do that next time I make curry.

  3. From another 80s person, I can totally relate to your music and movie choices. First Wave is one of my favorite channels on Sirius…I actually worked in radio in the mid 80s while in college, so I have great memories of that music. This curry looks fabulous! I don’t make it at home often, but this makes me want to make up a batch!

  4. How cool that you and your friend are hooking up in person after all these years! Funny how he ended up moving so close to you-small world.
    This one is definitely a food memory for you. I really like the method of preparation here-less bone and no skin!
    Also this is a great example of that cuisine and I can see why you continue to make this entree time and time again.
    Enjoy the lunch with your friend!

  5. What a stroll down memory lane … Children of the 80’s unite 🙂

  6. I am a serious child of the 1980s too–it seems like such a simpler time. This curry looks amazing–fully flavored and I love the color.

  7. How cool Steve to hook up with your old friend. My husband is a jazz sax and keyboard player. In my old hippie days I played in a girl rock band way back in the 70’s, LOL. Great curry dish, I think I could substitute tofu or even seitan. What do you think? You know I think I will try it with the seitan. Do you have your friends Mom’s roti recipe? I have always wanted to make that and stuff it with potatoesand carrots. Have a great day.

  8. Mmm, green curry, too! 🙂 Sounds like a winning recipe.

  9. Wow! This looks delicious! NIce work, Steve!

  10. While I was buzzing for barley soup, my eyes spotted this lovely green Trinidad style chicken.
    I used cilantro in almost every dish but never made this kind of gravy. love it.

  11. Are you able to substitute fresh cilantro for dried cilantro? If so, what would the measurement be for dried cilantro? Thank you 🙂

    • I’ve never used dried cilantro so I am unsure the ratio. I would try 1 or 2 tablespoons and see what you think. You could always add some more if you think it is necessary.

      • Generally, you want to use 1/3 of dried herbs than what is called for in fresh herbs. In the case of cilantro, however, I find the taste is drastically different when dried; use fresh cilantro whenever possible.

  12. This looks delish, and way easier than I anticipated Trini Curry to be.
    How do you think this would turn out in crock pot? Could you add potatoes and peas?

  13. Do you have to remove the skin for this recipe?

  14. Sorry – I forgot to add an additional question! 🙂 Can chicken thighs be used?

  15. I love how you introduced this post! I have twin sons who grew up in the 80s – so I love the same things you do- and they did!! My cousin Kelley Bolduc, who’s the leader of a reggae band based out of Boston called Hot Like Fire, just posted a photo of her dinner tonight, which was of this chicken recipe. We all wanted the recipe – which led me to your blog. I can’t wait to make this!!

  16. I really only eat. Breast meat. Can I also use that and would the cooking time be different? Should I cut in little pieces? Oh and my. Husband. Was also a 80s man. He loved the hair bands. I had a really good friend from Trinidad and she also made curry chicken. I wish I would have gotten the recipe. I’m going to try your recipe. Thank you.

  17. As a born Trinidadian I can say that this recipe is spot on, the only thing that you can add the next time is pumpkin, or squash, potatoes, onions, and carrots to make it more hearty. Other than that awesome job.

  18. AMAZING WEBSITE

  19. 12 drumsticks is equal to how many grams or kg if I am using chicken thighs with bones.And what is the brand name you used for curry powder.

    • not sure about the weight, but I would use 8 chicken thighs in place of 12 drumsticks. And regarding what brand of curry powder, I don’t have any specific brand. I have used many different kinds over the years, and even bought no-name a bunch as well.

  20. Thanks for the quick reply.I am going to make this now and let you know how it turned out.Thanks once again for replying.

  21. Hi, Steve! How can I make the curry sauce mild? I love curry but my family and I are not fans of spicy food. We can take a little heat but not too much.

    • Hi! So, in the recipe it says to use 1 hot pepper. While a scotch bonnet or habanero gives a lot of heat, you could use a pepper that is not as spicy. A jalapeño pepper might be a good choice as it will a small amount of spice but not be overly hot. If you want even less spice, you could use a poblano or green bell pepper. Hope this helps!!

  22. Great recipe Steve just like my dads

  23. Made from chicken first time. Just Love it!!!
    Making now using turkey drumsticks.

  24. So delicious. Made this today added like 4 thyme sprigs and 1 bay leaf into the the curry while cooking. Best curry recipe i ever came across, thank you.

  25. I’m cooking for about 15-20 people do I just double the ingredients? Can I use​ chicken stock instead of water

    • You can definitely double the recipe. Depending on the size of your skillet or Dutch oven, you may need to cook them in two separate skillets. And yes chicken stock will work just fine!

  26. I’m making this right now and I think I put a little too much water. How do I thicken the sauce?

  27. What if I dont have a food proccessor?? Can i still make it?

  28. I just got back from Barbados and bought some curry powder from a sweet lady at the market. It is more of a red curry but I am going to try this recipe with it anyway. Trinidad and Barbados are close right…………so it’s gotta work ahaha;)

  29. I have made this recipe on several occasions and it is one of my favorites. I just wanted to thank you for sharing it. I have had it pinned via Pinterest and have finally taken the time to actually print it. Oh, and the 80’s Rock!! If only kids today know how much they have missed by being plugged in.

  30. I made this yesterday for my 84 year old parents – and we all LOVED it! Thank you for this great recipe! 👍

  31. Ever used boneless chicken breasts for this recipe?
    I feel like if cooked low and slow they would still turn out great

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