Around the World in Chicken Week 4: Spicy Sri Lankan

I realize that I’m a little (2 1/2 weeks…) behind on food posts.  We do keep eating chicken.  I just keep not writing about it.  So here’s the post from the week before last: spicy, savory and satisfying Sri Lankan Curry. The original (non-Bishkek-friendly) recipe was found here:


To marinate the chicken:

  • 2 lbs Chicken –the original called for bone-in pieces; I used chicken breast. Obviously bone-in creates more fat and flavor.
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • 1 tsp Red chili powder
  • 1 tsp Madras curry powder (see curry recipe below)
  • 1 tsp Black pepper
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Korean hot pepper paste
  • 1 tsp Salt

For the  curry,

  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 1 Onion,  finely chopped
  • 1″ Ginger, chopped
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Spicy Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon ground with 5-6 cloves and 3-4 cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp Red chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Madras  curry powder
  • 1 Tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 c chicken stock
  • 1 julienned carrot
  • 1/3 head chopped cauliflower

To garnish:

  • Yogurt (to cut down on the spice, as the original recipe called for coconut milk and we didn’t have any)
  • Cilantro leaves – to garnish (optional)

Madras Curry Powder:

  • Grind together  coriander, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, fennel, cumin, dried red chilies and curry


  • Chop the chicken into 2″ pieces, marinate, and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat the oil . Add onions, ginger, and garlic. Saute until the onions start to brown.
  • Add spices in “curry” to the onions,  Stir and saute for a minute.
  • Add the carrots, as they will take more time to cook than the chicken and cauliflower.
  • After 5 minutes add the marinated chicken pieces and toss around for 5 minutes without covering or adding water.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, stir and cover to simmer.
  • After 10 minutes add the chopped cauliflower and 1/2 c chicken stock.
  • Cook for at least 10 more minutes, or until vegetables and chicken are tender.  The flavors will develop if you let the dish sit for a while before serving.

Alterations:  Sadly (sadly indeed!) we do not have tamarind in Bishkek.  In place of tamarind, I used spicy-sweet Korean pepper paste which (due to Stalinist policies and current fashion/food trends) is  readily available in Bishkek.  Obviously it’s a bit spicier than tamarind and is missing that sour tang, but it still worked well.  To compliment the spicy paste I added about a teaspoon of vinegar and squirted lemon on the finished dish.

Vegetables were not part of the original recipe.  I added cauliflower to the mix, and could have added julienned carrots as well, as I generally like more vegetables with my meals.

Score: 9/10 only because I was missing the tamarind. This was the perfect spicy dish for a cold and rainy evening.

While we do have plenty of Indian and Pakistani students in Bishkek, there aren’t very many restaurants representing that corner of the world – bot surprising (where do all those students eat?) and (having grown up half on Indian-Tibetan infusions) quite disappointing.


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