Even as child my mom recalls how much I loved eggplant (baigan), stewed, curry and my all-time favorite , roasted over an open flame and made into baigan choka. Today that affection for eggplant aka aubergine, baigan, brinjal, brinjal eggplant and melongene is just as strong and I try to find different ways to put this lovely vegetable to use. In this recipe we’ll go through the steps of making a classic Caribbean style curry chicken, then we’ll add the cubed eggplant along with some potatoes into the pot with the coconut milk and let it simmer to perfection in the curry sauce.
3 lbs chicken thighs (skinless)
1 large eggplant
4 medium potatoes
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoon veg oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon Caribbean green seasoning
2 tablespoon curry powder
3 birds eye (bird pepper) pepper
1/2 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup water
Notes. I like using a madras blend curry made in the Caribbean, but you can use your fav. Feel free to use 1/4 scotch bonnet pepper instead of the bird pepper.
Wash, drain and season the chicken with the salt, black pepper and Caribbean Green Seasoning, then allow it to marinate for about 2 hours.
Now heat the oil on a medium flame (in a deep sauce pan) and add the diced onion and garlic to the pot. Turn the heat down to low and let that cook for about 3 minutes so they soften up and start a lovely flavor base.
With your heat still on low, add the curry powder, stir well and let that toast for about 3-5 minutes. The curry will go darker, start to go grainy and take on a wonderful scent. Be sure the heat is on low to avoid the curry burning. In this step we’re cooking the curry so you don’t get that ‘raw’ curry taste when the dish is done cooking. We’re also awakening the spices which make up the curry powder.
15 minutes before you’re ready to cook, take the marinating chicken out of the fridge so it comes back to room temperature. Now add the seasoned chicken to the pot, turn up the heat so you can sear the chicken and get the pieces covered in the curry base we made. Turn the heat back down to med/low, place the lid on and let it cook for about 10 minutes. Add the birds eye peppers at this time as well.
The chicken will release it’s own natural juices, so turn the heat up and burn off that liquid. This will help to intensify the curry flavor of the chicken. It’s now time to add the cubed eggplant (you can peel it or leave it with the skin on), the cubed potatoes and top it with the coconut milk and water. Bring to a boil (raise the heat), then reduce to a simmer and let it cook for about 20-25 minutes or until the potato pieces are tender. You can have the lid slightly ajar as it cooks and do remember to stir every 5-8 minutes.
Taste for salt and adjust accordingly. If the sauce (gravy) is thin all you have to do is press a few pieces of the potato with the back of your spoon to crush them and it will help thicken up things. This curry chicken with eggplant will not be the most attractive dish, but I assure the curry base with the addition of the coconut milk will ensure you have a very flavorsome dish.