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Dark West Indian Curry & Island Fried Rice - Food Gypsy

West Indian Chicken Curry & Island Fried Rice

The best way to develop your palate is to venture into parts unknown and let your taste buds explore.  Discover a little heat, and sweet island spice, in your own kitchen with West Indian Chicken Curry & Island Fried Rice.

In the depths of the Caribbean, Trinidad, and Tobago, curry takes on an intensity and richness as a result of overlapping cultures.  The cuisine is a result of a fusion of flavours that includes native cultures, Indian, African, Creole, Lebanese, European, and Chinese in what could be called a true melting pot of gastronomy.  Heat and sweetness combine in a unique way.  Root vegetables play a huge role, in nutrition, and colour play and act as a filler to feed hungry mouths.

A Little Heat

Nothing fills me with warmth on a cold day quite like a curry.  There is an embracing comfort in every bite.  The secret to a great curry is making a good curry paste, blending, and often times cook your spices to achieve the desired result.  The biggest difference in a West Indian curry is how we handle our cumin.  We brown it first, along with the onions, until it’s dark and toasted before we add our garlic, ginger and other spices to bring this curry into balance.

The result is a rare, spiced mix that is rich and satisfying.  Here I’ve paired it with Island Fried Rice, featuring tropical fruits, almonds, cinnamon, and allspice to warm the belly and encourage more tasty travel.  If rice is your nemesis here’s a Gypsy cooking tip for perfect basmati rice.  Each rice cooks differently, this method works beautifully for basmati and most long-grain rice.  Don’t take any crap from rice!

Go forth and conquer.

West Indian Chicken Curry - Food Gypsy

For best basmati rice results:

Rinse and drain your rice. Your cooking ratio for perfect basmati, every time, is 1.5 to 1, this means for every cup of rice, use and a half cups of water and a pinch of salt.  Add cold water, rice and salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring it to boil over high heat stirring occasionally, then lower your heat and simmer for about 10 minutes (lid off), or until most of the water has been absorbed.  Place a tight-fitting lid on the pan, then remove the pan from the heat and allow to stand for another 10 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the rice is fork-tender.  To cool immediately, spread rice evenly on a sheet pan, and chill.

If you love flavours of the Caribbean, check out my Trini Roti Recipe, for an authentic taste of Trinidad.

Be your bad self in the kitchen!

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West Indian Chicken Curry - Food Gypsy

West Indian Chicken Curry & Island Fried Rice

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  • Author: Cori Horton
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 - 6 1x


Venture into parts unknown and let your taste buds explore. Travel in your own kitchen with West Indian Chicken Curry & Island Fried Rice.



West Indian Chicken Curry

  • 1/4 cup light cooking oil (sunflower, safflower)
  • 2 onions, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoon cumin
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 red birds eye chili peppers, minced (to taste)
  • 3 pounds (1 kilogram) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
  • 2 12-ounce (398 ml) cans of coconut milk
  • 2 medium yams, peeled and cubed
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large red pepper, cut julienne
  • 12 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped

Island Fried Rice

  • 3 cups basmati rice, cooked
  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 3 green onions, cut into diagonal 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 birdseye pepper, seeded & minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
  • 1/4 cup (greenish) banana, chopped
  • 1/4 cup  mango, peeled & chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • a pinch each – cinnamon, allspice & cayenne
  • salt & pepper to taste


West Indian Chicken Curry

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat add about half the oil and sweat onions until tender.   Add remaining oil, and 2 tablespoons of cumin and cook, stirring constantly until cumin is well browned and shifts from its original colour to a dark paste, about 5 minutes.  Then add garlic, ginger, and spices to cumin/onion paste and cook, stirring constantly to prevent burning to create a thick, toasted curry paste, add more oil if needed, to allow flavors to release.  Add chilies and cook for about two minutes to unleash the heat.
  2.  Meanwhile, cut and season chicken thighs well.  Add chicken to hot curry paste to seal the flesh, and cook, tossing as needed, for about 5 minutes.  Cover with coconut milk and stir to coat and cover.  Add yams, sweet potato, and red pepper and bring to a boil (add water if needed to cover) and reduce heat to a low and simmer, at least 30 minutes.
  3.  As the curry thickens check seasoning, add additional heat (chilies) if needed, and salt to taste.  Serve with plain basmati rice, Roti, or Fried Rice.

Island Fried Rice

  1. Heat the oil in a large, nonstick pan, or wok, over high heat.  Add the green onions, birds-eye pepper, and ginger and toss until fragrant.  Add 3 cups cooked rice, along with banana, mango, raisins, and almonds, sweet spices (cinnamon & allspice) then season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne.
  2. Toss to coat and mix, being careful that your rice doesn’t stick. taste for seasoning.  Adjust as needed. Cook about 3 minutes until hot, and lightly crisp.  Serve immediately.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 Minutes
  • Category: Mains
  • Method: Stewing
  • Cuisine: Caribbean

Cori Horton

Cooking in her home kitchen just outside Ottawa, Canada; Cori Horton is a food photographer and recipe blogger. A Cordon Bleu-trained Chef, Cori spent five years as the owner of Nova Scotia's Dragonfly Inn and has been sharing all things delicious - right here - since 2010.

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