If you have ever had curry in general, you know it’s all about flavor + spice! Embrace the heat with my Weeknight Jamaican Curry Chicken + Gnocchi recipe which is guaranteed to make the entire family satisfied. With a fragrant blend of spices and tender shredded chicken, gnocchi and potatoes simmered in a sauce of sweet peppers, veggie or chicken stock, garlic, ginger, onions, and coconut milk, this dish is sure to be the newest family staple. Completely Dairy-free. Meatless + Gluten-free options.
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When it comes to this original Jamaican Curry recipe, it's definitely one of those recipes that is a must make on any given night----whether for an easy weeknight meal or a laidback weekend vibe. Plus, this Spicy Butter Chickpeas are such a nice twist of curry flavor to try next! And this Spicy Coconut Curry Chicken Bowl is a great easy weeknight alternative for the entire family!
The best part about this curry chicken with gnocchi recipe is that it's SO easy to whip together. You can use organic chicken breasts or tenderloins which will be baked and then shredded or you can keep things traditional with larger pieces of chicken (chopped in chunks or whole) like in my Authentic Jamaican Curry Chicken recipe. But if you're a true curry lover, then this Vegan Pumpkin Curry Butternut Squash, Spicy Butter Chickpeas, Spicy Curry Vegan Meatballs + Orzo, and Vegan Curry Chickpea Mashed Potato Bowl is a must try for a delicious dinner.
Of course, there are varied versions of Jamaican curry chicken available, but this one is sure to knock your socks off-----promise! Plus, you're able to adjust the spicy flavors based on your tastebuds---so don't worry. This will be mentioned more in depth throughout this post. Haha. I also have a list of my Top 10 ingredients that are a must-have for making Jamaican dishes. These ingredients are incredibly important in creating authentic and flavorful Jamaican dishes, especially when it comes to seasonings + herbs.
And if you aren't a meat eater or just want to have a meatless Jamaican indulgence don't worry you're fully covered with options at the bottom of this post.
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 overheating. Haha.
Basically, curry powder is a combination of dried spices often used in Indian cuisine, however, is rather popular amongst other cultures like Asian, Caribbean, etc. In essence, curry is a dish that offers earthy, spicy, warming, with a hint of sweet notes. Overall, it's well-balanced and richly-spiced with savory flavors from the curry powder, coriander, cumin, allspice, and other herbs + spices.
The main difference between curry and Jamaican curry is that Jamaican curry is made with actual curry powder. Despite the newest variations of Indian curries, traditionally, it's usually made as a sauce-base and consists of a blend of coconut milk, tomatoes, fresh herbs, and spices.
Here’s what you need to make this Jamaican Chicken Curry dish:
Weeknight Jamaican Curry Chicken + Gnocchi is generally an easy process---in total about 40-45 minutes:
Gnocchi is the plural of gnocco, an Italian variety of dumpling that has been around since Roman times. Other common additions include semolina, formaggio (cheese), ricotta, spinach and polenta. In terms of how to say it----it's pronounced nyow·kee.
Gnocchi are basically Italian dumplings made with flour, eggs, and potatoes---unless they are egg-free like this one that I purchased from Delallo foods. When it comes to making your own gnocchi, the process is done is fairly a few steps. It starts with boiling and mashing the potatoes, combining the ingredients together and kneading them into a ball, shaping the dough, cutting them into pieces, and boiling and draining the gnocchi. For a great recipe, check out AllRecipes.com.
If you find that your sauce isn't thick enough, I definitely recommend covering the pot and allowing it to simmer a bit more. Usually, with a slow simmer over time, the sauce will automatically thicken. However, if it's truly not doing that, add 1 tablespoon of flour (or arrowroot starch, cornstarch, etc.) with 3-4 Tbsps warm water to a small cup or bowl, stir until smooth and "milky" and add to the sauce to help aide it.
While this Weeknight Jamaican Curry Chicken + Gnocchi is perfect as is---I definitely wanted to give options for those of you who don't eat meat or just might make this dish more than once and want to switch things up with a meatless option from time to time! Here are a few great ingredients that you can substitute with the chicken in this creamy dish.
Other ingredient ideas include:
When it comes to creating pulled or shredded chicken, there are two most effective ways to do so. Firstly, you would need to ensure that your chicken is fully cooked and cooled and then you shred the chicken in one of the following ways:
Forks: For this method you would need two forks. If using this method, place your cooked chicken breast onto a plate or cutting board and use both forks to separate the chicken meat and 'shred' as you separate. Continue doing this until all of your chicken is shredded.
Stand Mixer: If you're looking to avoid using arm strength, then the method of a stand mixer might be just for you. This is by far the fastest and easiest way to shred chicken and you simply place all of your cooked chicken breasts in the bowl of stand mixer. Add the paddle attachment and mix on low. In just 15-20 seconds you’ll have shredded chicken. That easy!
I personally think that leftovers are even more delicious than the first day! You can keep leftover chicken curry in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. To gently reheat the leftovers, use a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat which you'll probably need to add ¼ cup or so of stock to make things creamy again. Alternatively, you can also use the microwave to reheat the dish as well.
Absolutely! You can actually use only turmeric instead of curry powder for the curry sauce, if desired. While using just turmeric is optional, it definitely has benefits: powerful medicinal properties, natural anti-inflammatory ingredient, increases antioxidant activity in the body, and more.
Yes, it uses coconut milk for the creaminess so if you are dairy-free this recipe has you covered!
Of course! To make this recipe ahead of time, simply cook the chicken and shred it before storing it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Then once ready to make everything, whip together the curry sauce, cook the gnocchi, and toss everything together.
The best consistency for curry should be where it's thick enough to coat all of the ingredients in the dish, but liquid-y enough to be drizzled atop your rice or veggies or to be dipped with flatbread, pita, or naan bread.
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.
While traditionally scotch bonnet peppers are used in Jamaican dishes, unfortunately, they might not be found easily in some areas, therefore, substituting them with habanero peppers, jalapeños, etc works just fine! For equal spice to scotch bonnet, you can add a pinch of cayenne pepper and a few drops of hot sauce when substituting.
Unlike regular curry powder, Jamaican curry powder contains more turmeric (hence the bold yellow color) and allspice. Therefore, if you don't have Jamaican curry powder handy, simply use regular curry powder and add additional turmeric powder and a few pinches of allspice powder.
Generally, yes! However, you can create a milder dish by reducing the amount of scotch bonnet peppers used or substituting with milder peppers like jalapeños, etc.
If you love your curry chicken with a lot more gravy, no worries! Just use less potatoes (because they work as a thickener as everything cooks) or add additional liquid (stock or water), about 1 cup halfway through the cooking process for more gravy.
Yes, once you use all gluten-free friendly ingredients like coconut milk, GF chicken stock (or bone broth which is GF-friendly), and any other ingredients that you might add!
Now that you've fallen in love with the bold flavors in this recipe, here are some more Jamaican-style ideas to try with your family next:
If you tried this Weeknight Jamaican Curry Chicken + Gnocchi recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you.