A fun competition landed in my inbox a few weeks back from Betfair. The instructions were to create a dish inspired by one of the countries taking part in this year’s Cricket World Cup. I don’t know much about placing bets on cricket but I do know my food.
I had my pick of 14 nations’ cuisines and was immediately drawn to the West Indies. The key flavours of allspice and thyme are a regular in our house as we love jerk chicken but I’ve never made any other dish from there. So that was my challenge, a West Indies style curry.
This chicken and butternut squash curry is full flavoured and fragrant, with just the right amount of heat. It’s simple to make and would be a killer dish to cook for a big group. I had a lot of fun playing around with the spices to get this recipe perfect and I really hope you enjoy it.
I always find it interesting when I’m learning about a new cuisine to come across common conventions. The signature for the West Indies is washing meat in lemon juice before using it. My immediate question was, why? It seems there’s no succinct answer either. It’s a tenderiser, people used to believe it would clean bacteria from the meat, some think it adds flavour. One thing was for sure, I wasn’t going to create a a West Indian curry without that step. So here we go…
- 1 onion
- 1 medium chilli
- 1 garlic clove
- 2cm cube ginger, peeled
- 2 Tsp ground all spice
- 1 Tsp fresh thyme
- 1 Tsp ground fenugreek
- ½ Tsp ground turmeric
- ½ Tsp coriander seed
- ½ Tsp ground cumin
- ½ Tsp salt
- 1 medium butternut squash
- Tsp coconut oil
- 400g chicken breast, diced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 200ml coconut milk
- Begin by adding all the paste ingredients to a food processor and pulsing until smooth. I used my trusty nutribullet for mine, but you could also use a pestle and mortar.
- Peel and deseed the butternut squash, cutting it in to approximately 1 inch cubes. Set to one side.
- In a large heavy bottomed pan on a medium heat, add a teaspoon of coconut oil. Once the oil has melted and is hot, add all of the curry paste. Fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Whilst the paste cooks, add the lemon juice to the diced chicken breast, stir to ensure each piece has been coated then rinse and drain immediately.
- Add the coconut milk, butternut squash and chicken to the pan, stirring to combine. Put a lid on the pan and leave on a low medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring every ten minutes or so.
- At this point, the butternut squash should be fork tender and all that is left to do is leave the lid off for ten minutes for the curry to reduce and thicken. If you prefer a hot curry, now is the time to taste it and add an extra chilli if you feel it is needed.
- Serve your West Indies style curry with rice and extra thyme to sprinkle on top.