I grew up in the kitchen. From a tender age, I watched my mother cook dinner every night, and began “helping”, by stirring a sauce here, adding a pinch of herbs there. But soon I began branching out on my own. I have a very clear memory of pulling the kitchen chair over to the counter so I could make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which is a staple for any kid. As I got older and I was allowed to do crazy things like use a knife or turn on the stove, my preparations got more elaborate (grilled cheese!). And then there was the night I actually cooked dinner for my entire family. And this is what I made.
Chicken curry. Not an authentic, subcontinental masala, but a simple, 1960’s version of the classic, cribbed from my dad’s old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. The recipe calls for chicken that has been previously cooked, so not only is it another great use for leftover roast chicken, it also is a great recipe for an adolescent me to cook without running the risk of poisoning my family with undercooked chicken. The rest of the ingredient list includes pretty standard and nonthreatening pantry ingredients — apples, onions, butter, flour, milk, chicken broth, and curry powder (I always use Sun brand Madras curry powder, which is the same kind my mom kept around when she was growing up).
This can be dressed up and served with a whole host of condiments — bowls of chopped scallions, raisins, toasted coconut, sliced bananas, mango chutney and dry roasted peanuts — or it can be served simply, over rice for an easy weeknight dinner. It’s an easy recipe to remember, and an easy recipe to master. And it’s great to teach your kids.
Now it’s the Nuni who pulls a chair to the counter to watch me cooking. And I let her stir. And when she’s old enough to use a stove and a knife, I’ll teach her this recipe.
- 2 T butter
- 1½ c. finely chopped apple
- ½ c. chopped onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 T flour
- 2-3 tsp. curry powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 c. milk
- 1 c. chicken broth
- 2 c. cubed cooked chicken
- Melt butter in a large saucepan.
- Add apples, onions and garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent, then add flour, curry powder and salt and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add milk and chicken broth and cook, stirring periodically, until the sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes
- Add chicken and heat through. Serve over rice.
My mom used to make a similar curry recipe. We always loved it as kids and enjoyed getting to pick through the condiments to create our “own” bowl. This looks like the perfect way to introduce kids into main meal cooking!
This sounds very good to me. I have made a recipe from Joy of Cooking that is specifically for leftover roast lamb, and this sounds like it would fit into the same category.
The Cook’s Illustrated Basmati Rice Pilaf is delicious and fragrant, so I will serve that when I try your recipe, along with some buttered peas for texture and color, and a cooling cucumber salad.
My husband loves chicken curry but I do not always have the time to make the long and involved recipe… thanks for this one… which sounds wonderful, and I am sure he will enjoy! We just won’t tell him it didn’t take me as long! LOL!
That was so me as a kid – sitting on a bar stool next to the counter while my mom cooked or baked. She used to give me the scraps from her pie crusts for me to make little cookies with. They always tasted horrible, but I had fun, nonetheless.
I’ve actually never made chicken curry before. May need to give this recipe a try!
I loved how you tied this recipe into cooking with kids, a subject that is dear to my heart. Jamie and I have been baking a lot lately, soon to be the subject of a new post on my blog.
What do you think about subbing coconut milk for milk to make it dairy-free?
Emily — You could sub in coconut milk or just replace the milk with more chicken broth. If you’re looking to make it vegetarian, you could replace the chicken with tofu or cauliflower and replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth.
Lovely post. But, it’s the apples in the curry that really piqued my interest. Thanks for sharing your memories and this recipe.
Kate, I can’t believe I found the old recipe from Better Homes and Gardens! We have retired and live on our boat in the BVI in the winter and I wanted a quick chicken curry and couldn’t believe I didn’t take this recipe along!! I loved it and used it with left over turkey at Thanksgiving! Can you please tell me what you changed about the orginal recipe. It looks very much the same to me!! Thanks
I made this for dinner tonight. I admit I was a little skeptical; the recipe sounded too simplistic to taste like anything. But I guess I needn’t have worried – my husband cleared his plate in the time it took me to ask if he liked it! I think this has become a new go-to recipe.
Excellent!!!! My whole family loved it.
Your recipe is very similar to our family chicken curry recipe. The one difference is we serve the following condiments with it. I like all of them, but each person chooses what they want on top. It makes for a wonderful dinner party!
Below is what we serve:
3 hard boiled eggs, very finely chopped
1 cup +/- unsalted peanuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1 cup +/- curly parsley, chopped
1 lb. bacon, fried very crisp, drained and finely broken up (I’ve been known to use bacon bits from Costco.)
1 cup +/- Major Grey’s Mango Chutney (usually in the jelly/jam aisle)
1 cup +/- sweetened coconut, toasted
1 cup +/- fresh bananas, roughly chopped; (squeeze lemon juice on them to keep from discoloring)
1 cup +/- apricot preserves
1 cup +/- scallions/green onions, tops included, roughly chopped
1 cup +/- golden raisins or currants
OOPS! It would help if I’d read the entire post! I see you also use condiments. Sorry ’bout that!
I realize I’m a little late on the post. But, I just found this recipe and made it last night. I am a novice cooker and it was so simple to make, so thanks!
1. have you tried to use coconut milk?
2. to make it vegetarian, could I just use vegetable stock and throw in some cooked vegetables at the end instead of chicken?
Agan, i’m a realy novice!
I did PIN this on my boards! 🙂