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Chicken with Curry Leaves

Jedd has been burning the candle at both ends. He’s been helping to care for a family member who’s recovering from surgery, he’s in two bands, and he still has to – you know – work. Oh, and hang with me and the kittens.

Busy, busy, busy.

But not too busy to bring me home treats from his travels.

And this week he brought me fresh curry leaves from a specialty store in Burlington.

Curry leaves! I’d never played with them before, but I promptly ripped into the bag for a taste.

Wow. They taste just like green bell peppers with a hint of citrus – which makes them perfect for stir fries.

The bag itself was like a clown car though. It looked like it only held about a cup of the leaves, but once I opened the little bag there were a TON of them. Probably more like 4 cups. So I’m storing them in the freezer, to keep them fresh and happy.

For this initial recipe I decided to dig deep into my spice drawer and really play with all of my favorite flavors.

And I ended up with a crazy delicious dish, that is going to be a staple over the winter. Bonus: It’s a fun way to use leftover chicken.

Chicken with Curry Leaves

Serves 2.


Chicken with Curry Leaves Ingredients


1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon fennel powder

1 teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon cayenne

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

2 cloves

2 cardamom pods

1 star anise pod

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large red onion, diced

1 large tomato*, diced

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated

¼ cup fresh curry leaves

1 cup chicken broth

1 cooked chicken breast, cubed


Place the turmeric, chili powder, fennel powder, cayenne, salt, cumin, cloves, cardamom, and star anise in a spice grinder. Grind well.

Enjoy! (Just kidding. There’s still more cooking to do, but you might as well pause for a moment to soak in those beautiful aromas. And it can’t hurt to get a little of all those spices on your fingertip and have a taste.)

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium frying pan. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the spice mixture, ginger and the chopped tomato. Stir well. Add the curry leaves, chicken broth and cubed chicken.

Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce has reduced by half.

Serve over rice.

Vertical chicken with curry leaves


*We’re not preachy folks, but it’s never a bad idea to remind people about winter tomatoes. Depending on the source, the farming conditions can include some pretty appalling practice that include virtual slavery. It’s creepy. (Here’s an interview about it.) So, try to find locally grown tomatoes when at all possible. In many northern areas during the winter, you can still find locally grown hydroponic tomatoes. And when in doubt, there’s nothing wrong with canned tomatoes as a substitute.

Here’s a link to stores that have signed the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) Campaign for Fair Food. 

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