If you have ever had Jamaican food in general, you know it’s all about flavor + spice! Embrace the heat with my Authentic Jamaican Curry Chicken, simmered in a sauce of hot peppers, chicken stock, garlic, and coconut milk along with a handful of spices and veggies that give it that extra pizzaz. A real nostalgic comfort food dish for many Jamaicans. All dairy-free with a gluten-free option.
I’m so excited to be finally sharing this Jamaican curry chicken recipe with you guys. Such a long time coming, but I wanted to make sure that I was sharing something tried and true as well as authentic to what I grew up eating.
Of course, there are varied version of Jamaican curry chicken available, but this one is surely the most closest to the thing—–I promise! Plus, you’re able to adjust the spicy flavors based on your tastebuds—so don’t worry. Haha.
And if you aren’t a meat eater or just want to have a meatless indulge of this dish—-check out my Spicy Curry Vegan Meatballs + Orzo, which is insanely just as delicious. Either way, you’ll definitely enjoy.
What is Jamaican Curry?
There is no singular recipe for Jamaican curry because all families have their own traditions. However, it is generally a mix of locally-found seasonings. You can find either store-bought mixes or you can season your curry on your own using a variety of flavorings.
Scotch bonnet peppers are found in many Jamaican dishes, so I had to include them in this sauce. They add a sweet-spicy kick, but watch out! These guys can get seriously spicy, especially for those with mild heat tolerance. Coconut milk in my curry cools down the dish just enough. So, you won’t die of overheat. Haha.
Why Do I Need to Burn the Curry?
Whenever using Jamaican curry powder, it’s important to burn the powder first to avoid digestive issues for some people because of it’s potency. In addition, the “burning” process releases better flavor + color.
Authentic Jamaican Curry Chicken with Coconut Milk
Making my curry sauce with full-fat coconut milk is something that I love because that’s honestly how I saw my parents and other family members do it. Besides, it definitely adds a nice creaminess to things and as I mentioned before, it helps to cool down all of the spicy flavor. Traditionally, Grace Food’s canned coconut milk is the thing used, however, I often substitute that with my favorite organic versions—-so feel free to use whichever you prefer.
Jamaican Curry Chicken and Potatoes? Can I Use Sweet Potatoes?
Absolutely use those potatoes in your curry. Two reasons why: it adds nice “body” or thickness to the sauce as they cook in with the chicken and sauce; two——it makes for a nice addition when eating the chicken with your favorite side. I’m always big on experimenting and so, I would definitely add sweet potatoes instead to change things up. No harm to me.
1 tsp Flavo Rice, optional (You can substitute with all-purpose seasoning!)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Spicy Jamaican Curry Sauce:
2 Tbsps Extra virgin olive oil
1 (14 oz.) can full-fat coconut milk
2 russet potatoes, peeled + cubed
2 carrots, peeled + chopped
1 bell pepper, cored removed + chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsps minced fresh ginger
1-3 scotch bonnet peppers (Adjust to your level of spiciness; You can also use habanero peppers)
2 green onions, lightly crushed or chopped (a.k.a. Scallion)
1-2 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 cup organic chicken stock, low-sodium
1 Tbsp soy sauce, low-sodium
2 1/2 Tbsps Jamaican curry powder
1 Tbsp Jamaican hot sauce
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
What to Serve with Jamaican Curry Chicken
Usually, Jamaican curry chicken comes served with a side of white rice along with cooked veggies or fried plantain. I’ve enjoyed my curry chicken with a side of brown Basmati rice, mashed potatoes, sautéed veggies, etc. for a healthier twist. It’s definitely up to you—even serving it with a side of orzo is also a thing. Just have fun with it—-neutral sides work best!
10 Ingredients to Keep Handy When Making Jamaican Dishes
Sharing my top 10 ingredients that are a must-have for making Jamaican dishes and these ingredients do not necessarily need to be gluten or dairy-free, but they are incredibly important in creating authentic and flavorful Jamaican dishes.
Other Jamaican Recipes That I Love
Loving this Authentic Jamaican Curry Chicken and want more Jamaican cuisine? Here are some of my faves!
3-4lbs.organic chicken, skin removed(Drumsticks + Thigh pieces work great!)
1-2Tbspsbrowning, optional(See Notes!)
2TbspsJamaican curry powder
1tspFlavo Rice, optional (You can substitute with all-purpose seasoning!)
SPICY JAMAICAN CURRY SAUCE:
2TbspsExtra virgin olive oil
1(14 oz.) canfull-fat coconut milk
2russet potatoes, peeled + cubed
2carrots, peeled + chopped
1bell pepper, cored removed + chopped
3garlic cloves, minced
2Tbspsminced fresh ginger
1-3scotch bonnet peppers(Adjust to your level of spiciness; You can also use habanero peppers)
2green onions, lightly crushed or chopped(a.k.a. Scallion)
1-2fresh thyme sprigs
1/2cuporganic chicken stock, low-sodium
1Tbspsoy sauce, low-sodium
2 1/2TbspsJamaican curry powder
1TbspJamaican hot sauce(You can substitute with your favorite brand)
MARINATE THE CHICKEN:
In a large bowl, add your freshly cleaned + rinsed chicken along with browning, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, parsley, Flavo Rice (or all-purpose seasoning), and curry powder, mixing everything together until chicken is fully coated. Add coated chicken to a securely sealed ziplock bag and place in the refrigerator for 3 hours (minimum). Best if marinaded overnight. When ready to use, let chicken sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before cooking.
BURN THE CURRY POWDER:
If using authentic Jamaican curry powder, it's super important to first "burn" your powder. SEE NOTES FOR MORE.
In a deep skillet or pot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and once fully heated, add curry powder. Stir curry powder in oil and let it sit until it becomes a dark brown and becomes fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the minced garlic, ginger, scotch bonnet peppers, green onions, and bell peppers, sautéing until fragrant and golden. Add the allspice, salt, and black pepper, stirring until combined. Now, add in the marinated chicken and cook on each side until seared, about 3-4 minutes each side.
Pour in the coconut milk, soy sauce, chicken stock, and hot sauce, stirring until combined. Let the mixture boil for a minute or so before adding the chopped carrots and potatoes. Toss them in sauce, add in the thyme sprigs and reduce heat to simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until sauce thickens and the chicken is cooked through and tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat once done.
To serve, enjoy the curry chicken with your favorite side (i.e. rice, veggies, etc.). Garnish with a bit of dried parsley and sprinkles of red pepper flakes, if desired.
Tips & Tricks
STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
TURMERIC: You can add 1 tsp of turmeric to the curry sauce, if desired. While adding turmeric is optional, it definitely has benefits: powerful medicinal properties, natural anti-inflammatory ingredient, increases antioxidant activity in the body, and more.
JAMAICAN SEASONINGS: If authentic Jamaican seasonings (i.e. browning, curry powder, Flavo Rice, etc.) aren't readily available near you, they are available for purchase on Amazon. Otherwise, substitute with your favorite brand.
BURNING THE CURRY POWDER: When using Jamaican curry powder, it's important to burn the powder first to avoid digestive issues for some people because of it's potency. In addition, the "burning" process releases better flavor + color.
GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: Ensure that all ingredients are GF-certified.