Keto Friendly Sri Lankan Chicken Curry
Let’s visit a little village wedding in rural Sri Lanka, bride dressed in traditional tied saree. Hair tied back neatly and decorated with flowers and jewelry. She is wearing full ensemble of heavy bridal attire. The most beautiful thing you will set your eyes on that day. I hope I am not confusing my foodie friends here because I am talking about a village wedding, not food. But you see I am talking about food. Weddings and food go hand in hand. Second most beautiful thing you will spot on a village wedding is the lunch spread you will set eyes upon. Yes, it is lunch because traditionally weddings are hosted in mornings will have an elaborated lunch spread of at least 20 dishes and accompaniments, mead, and desserts. At least when I was young and fortunate to attend some village weddings.
Aroma of the various dishes cooking, loud music playing, children running around playing, relatives gathered out mostly in outdoor kitchen preparing at various dishes over wood fire stoves is truly a sight to behold. Most of my wedding memories were those sounds of clanging pots and pans, sound of crackling wood fire, aroma of roasting spices, ladies chitchatting and of course those inviting aroma of the simmering curries. Among them, the bride of the wedding feast. The rustic village style chicken curry. This dish is not your everyday chicken curry. It does need lots of love and heart form the home cook. Lots of time too. But God so worth it. I would call it thanksgiving turkey of Sri Lanka, but better. Sorry Turkey!
This dish is prepared with fresh free range organic chicken that probably has been running around farmers backyard probably an hour ago. (of course, I settled for a fresh fowl I found in local grocery store, because it’s what I could find). Its lean chicken with tougher meat ideal for longer cooking time. Also, you need lots of spices. Especially red curry seasoning base. I posted how to make this curry seasoning for yourself few days ago. I will link that post here if you hadn’t had a chance to go through it.
Once we pick out a chicken we need to clean, remove the skin, and cut into small pieces. Ideally 18 to 22 pieces depending on the weight of the chicken. This type of cutting is called curry cut chicken. You could certainly choose to cook the chicken with skin on, but I do highly recommend removing the skin and trimming any extra fat. This is one dish where too much fat in the curry could ruin the flavor. Cutting the chicken is not very intimidating at all. With a weighted sharp knife, some kitchen towels and you tube it is easier than you think. I am happy to share the best you tube video of cutting whole chicken into curry cut below. Good curry needs all those parts from the whole chicken to truly stand out and give its best flavor.
Second most important thing is let it sit in it marinate, long time. Fresh fowl I prepped sat in the red curry seasoning base for 12 hours in the fridge before I started cooking the curry.
With all that lets make this village chicken curry.
Curried Chicken Fry Village Style
Prep time: half an hour
Cook time: two hours
- Whole fresh fowl cut into curry cut. (About 4 pounds.)
- Half a cup of red curry seasoning
- Five dry hot chili peppers
- Half a cup of caramelized onions.
- Two tablespoons of black pepper
- Handful of curry leaves
- Cup of water
- Coconut oil
- Teaspoon of mustard seeds
- Half a teaspoon of fennel seeds
- One Indian bay leaf
- One tablespoon of vinegar
- Half a cup of coconut cream/ or heavy cream (optional for keto friendly version)
Pound herbs and whole spices with, red curry paste using vinegar.Marinate the chicken in the red curry paste for overnight
Heat the pan on high and heat coconut oil to smoke point
Add the chicken pieces in batches fry until brown and firm outside. Remove and set aside.
On the same pan add another tablespoon of coconut oil and add Indian bay leaf and onions. Caramelized onions well. When fragrant add dry chilies, and curry leaves. fry for a minute.
Add the chicken back and stir to coat chicken with everything.
Add a cup of water and cook covered until chicken is cooked and tender and sauce is thick.
Add coconut cream or heavy cream and cook for another minute and adjust the salt to your taste. Mine didn’t need any additional salt because curry seasoning had enough salt for the dish.
Enjoy over rice and salad.