Jamaican Curry Chicken – This easy one-pot meal is bursting with flavor. Homemade curry powder, aromatic garlic and onion, and luscious coconut milk take this hearty recipe over the top. I guarantee this is one curry stew you’ll want to make over and over again.
Did you know that curry is not just one spice but a mixture of several different spices? When I stumbled across that information, suddenly, everything made sense. That’s why some brands of store-bought curry seasoning are spicy and bold while others are milder and sweet and why some are just meh in the taste department.
Honestly, that’s why I came up with my own homemade curry powder recipe, which suits my taste buds perfectly. Feel free to customize it to create your own perfect curry spice mix. Or you can choose your preferred store-bought brand – we all have our favorites.
What Is It?
What Is Jamaican Curry Chicken?
Jamaican curry chicken is a chicken dish that uses Jamaican curry powder. Though it’s similar to Indian curry powder, it has subtle differences. For example, Jamaican curry usually includes allspice, a spice that shows up in other classic Jamaican dishes like jerk chicken. It’s generally heavier on turmeric than Indian curries and a little less spicy.
- Chicken Thighs – Boneless chicken thighs make for a flavorful, quick meal. You could always use bone-in thighs, legs, or even a whole chicken instead. Just be sure to up your cooking time accordingly.
- Spices – Curry powder, white pepper, and paprika give this dish a super flavorful taste with real depth and just the right amount of heat.
- Coconut Milk – This ingredient makes our Jamaican curry chicken perfectly creamy and tones down the spiciness of the curry powder.
- Chicken Broth – Chicken broth makes for the base of your curry “sauce,” although you could substitute this ingredient for plain old water in a pinch. I definitely recommend using broth if you have it since it adds more flavor to the dish.
- Tomato Paste – Just a touch of tomato paste gives this curry that tomato flavor and contributes to that beautifully rich reddish-yellow color.
- Vegetables – A few veggies, including onion, carrots, green pepper, and potatoes, complete this curry.
How to Make Jamaican Curry Chicken
Cook the Chicken
- Season the Chicken with salt and pepper and set aside. (Photos 1-2)
- Sautee Chicken – In a large, deep pan, heat oil over medium heat until hot, and then add the chicken. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes or until slightly brown. (Photos 3-4)
- Add Seasonings – Add curry powder and onions, followed by minced garlic, thyme, and paprika. Stir for about five minutes, allowing the flavors to blossom. (Photos 5-6)
Make the Curry Sauce
- Add the Liquids – In the same pan, pour in the coconut milk and tomato paste. Continue cooking for two more minutes, then add 2-3 cups of chicken broth or water. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 15 minutes. (Photos 7-8)
- Now the Veggies – Next, add the potatoes and carrots. Cook until potatoes are tender, seven minutes or so. (Photo 9)
- Add the Peppers– Add the sliced bell pepper and cook for another two minutes. (Photo 10)
- Garnish – Finally, add the chopped parsley.
- Adjust the sauce thickness with broth or water and the salt to your preference.
- Serve hot, and enjoy!
Vegetarian – Turn this Jamaican curry recipe into a vegan dish using oyster mushrooms, portabellos, chickpeas, or tofu instead of chicken.
Other Meats – You could substitute other meats if you aren’t a fan of chicken. It’s fabulous with goat, but pork and beef also make a fantastic curry.
Tips and Tricks
- Use whole fat coconut milk for the creamiest, most delicious curry.
- Feel free to get creative with your veggie selection if you wish. Broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, zucchini, and spinach would all work well in a curry, so feel free to clean out your fridge’s vegetable drawer.
- Adjust the spiciness of this dish by adjusting the amount of curry powder you add. You could also make this dish a little spicier by adding more cayenne pepper. 💥 (There may already be some in your curry powder.)
Adding to its appeal is just how easy it is to make this curry dish ahead of time. Simply follow the recipe instructions, allow the curry to cool, then store it in the fridge for 3-5 days or in the freezer for up to three months until you are ready to serve it. Reheat it on the stovetop, and no one will know you haven’t been in the kitchen all day preparing this delicious dish. 😜
Serving and Storage Instructions
Serve this curry hot off the stove for best results. I love to serve it over a bed of steamed white rice.
Store leftover chicken curry in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. In the fridge, it will last for about 3-5 days. Use frozen curry within three months, and thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
You can reheat Jamaican curry chicken on the stovetop over medium-high heat until it’s hot—alternatively, heat single servings in the microwave. Adjust reheat times according to the amount of curry in your bowl.
Jamaican curry powder usually contains more turmeric than other kinds, which gives it a deeper yellow appearance. 💛
Way back in the 17th century, Indian indentured servants were brought to Jamaica, which was then an English colony, to work on sugar cane plantations. They brought curry with them, and ingenious Jamaicans adapted it and deeply entwined it with Jamaica’s culture and cuisine.
Jamaican recipes often call for toasting curry powder in heated oil to release the flavors of the spices. In most cases, though, the spices have already been toasted when blending the curry powder. This step also makes Jamaican curry powder unique from Indian curry powder.
What Goes With Jamaican Curry Chicken
This curry goes great with steamed white rice, but lately, I’ve gotten into serving it with arroz con gandules, making for an interesting (and delicious) cultural mash-up. 🇯🇲🇵🇷 Jamaican curry chicken also goes excellent with sides like Caribbean coleslaw and fried plantains.
More Curry Recipes to Try
I can’t wait to hear what y’all think about this amazingly easy, impossibly flavorful dish. And do you plan on trying other curry recipes? Let me know how it turned out for you in the comment section below! 😘
Watch How to Make It
This recipe was first published on Oct. 7, 2014, and has been updated with new photos, a video, and additional writings.
Jamaican Curry Chicken
- 2-2½ pound (1-1¼kg) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 teaspoon (2.3g) white pepper, optional
- 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
- 1½-2 tablespoons (6.3g) curry powder
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ cup (236ml) coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 2 cups (473ml) chicken broth, or more (can replace with water)
- 1 pound (454g) potatoes, peeled and cut in medium pieces
- 12 ounces (340g) carrots and green pepper, sliced
- 2-3 tablespoon parsley, chopped
- Salt to taste
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper and set aside.
- In a large, deep pan, heat oil over medium heat until hot, and then add the chicken. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes or until slightly brown.
- Add curry powder and onions, followed by minced garlic, thyme, and paprika. Stir for about five minutes, allowing the flavors to blossom.
- In the same pan, pour in the coconut milk and tomato paste. Continue cooking for two more minutes, then add 2-3 cups of chicken broth or water. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 15 minutes.
- Next, add the potatoes and carrots. Cook until potatoes are tender, seven minutes or so.
- Add the sliced bell pepper and cook for another two minutes.
- Finally, add the chopped parsley.
- Adjust the sauce thickness with broth or water and the salt to your preference. Serve and enjoy!