So what do you do with the left over stew chicken from the day before? Our main meal of the week in Trinidad and Tobago is usually “Sunday lunch”. I recall my mom going all out just about every Sunday, which usually included her famous stew chicken. As we were kids and didn’t eat much, there was usually left over chicken… that slowly changed as we grew older and our appetite increased. Back then, Monday dinners usually meant curry potato with the added chicken for extra flavor, paired with either rice or roti.
That tradition now continues in our household, but it’s not a Monday thing…
2 large potatos
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of black pepper
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (any that can withstand high heat)
1 medium onion sliced
2 cloves of garlic sliced
1/4 of a hot pepper – habanero (only add if you like extra spicy)
leftover stew chicken (leave out chicken if you want it vegetarian)
2 cups water
4 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoon of your favorite curry powder.
Peel and dice the potato into 1-2 inch pieces, then wash and keep handy. Prepare the garlic and onion by peeling and slicing into thin pieces. You may also crush the garlic if you wish, but I leave in slices so our girls can see them when the dish is complete. This way they can remove if they wish when eating.
I now add the curry powder to a bowl with the sliced onions and garlic.
In a heavy pan I place the oil over medium to high heat. Just before it starts to smoke, I add the curry, onion and garlic mixture and let cook for about 2 minutes. In the same small bowl that the curry mixture was in, I add the 4 tablespoons of water and rinse (get any curry that was left back). Now pour that water into the pot with the cooked curry, onions and garlic. Let that cook until the water evaporates and you now have a bit of a paste.
Our next step is to add the diced potato and move around, so everything gets coated. This can take a couple minutes.
Add the salt, pepper, habanero and remaining water. The goal is to try and have enough water to cover the potato so it will cook evenly.
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Allow this to cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the potato is tender and starts to melt away to form a nice thick sauce. Here is where the dish goes from being vegetarian… Add the pieces of leftover chicken and let simmer for about 5 minutes. If you’re going with the vegetarian version, allow to thicken and serve at this point.
The goal is to allow the runny sauce to thicken up, so you may have to crush the potato a bit if necessary by pressing down on them with the back of your cooking spoon. Please taste for salt and add if necessary. I’m not a heavy salt eater, so you may find that some of my dishes do require more salt – basically to your taste!
Tip. If you live in a country where your home is closed up for the winter months and you’re worried about the curry smell lingering around, burn a candle (scented is great) during and after you’re done cooking. If the smell is really strong (depends on the curry powder you use), you add either a vanilla bean or piece of cinnamon to a couple cups of water and boil for a bit. The fragrance will envelop your home, but you may feel like having apple pie.
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