Chicken Curry (Kukul Mas Kariya)
The Quintessence of Sri Lankan Cuisine
Sri Lankan chicken curry (kukul mas kariya or කුකුල් මස් කරිය in Sinhala) is one of the most characteristic dishes of the island. For some people, chicken curry is synonymous with Sri Lankan cuisine. I hope that reading this blog will clear up that misconception, but I would be lying if I claimed that Sri Lankans dont love their chicken curry. Personally, I can’t get enough of it. Chicken curry can be cooked in many variations and Sri Lankans eat it in combination with many different side dishes.
When it comes to how to serve Sri Lankan chicken curry, there are endless combinations. Each combination brings out a completely different taste. Thinking about it, this is probably one of the reasons why we love it so much. You can eat it with white rice, yellow rice and even milk rice. It doesn’t have to be rice though. String hoppers, hoppers, pittu and bread can be excellent matches as well. Sri Lankan chicken curry goes well with almost every local side dish I can think of. Gowa mallum, amba chutney, bonchi curry, annasi thel dala are all fantastic additions to chicken curry.
Like other meat curries, I prefer to prepare this dish with homemade black curry powder (kalu kudu) and homemade mixed chili powder (kalawam miris). Most Sri Lankans cook chicken curry with coconut milk. I prefer to cook it without coconut milk, the spices stand out more and it matches more side dishes this way.
2 lbs of chicken
3 tbs mixed chili powder (kalawam miris)
1 tbs homemade black curry powder (kalu kudu)
4 inches pandan leaves (rampe)
3 branches of curry leaves
6 garlic cloves
1 medium onion
2 cardamom cloves
3 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup of chicken broth
1/2 tsp lemon juice
salt to taste
Note: If you prefer a creamier curry, add 1/2 a cup of coconut milk during step 7 as soon as most of the water has evaporated.
1. Cut the chicken into pieces of about 3 inches each and wash.
2. Mix the chicken pieces with chili powder, salt, black curry powder, lemon and chicken broth , cover it and let it rest for 30 minutes.
3. Peel and wash the onions, the garlic and the cardamom cloves, chop them into small pieces. Cut the pandan leaves into pieces of about 1 inch each.
4. Heat olive oil in a pot, fry the onion pieces for 2 minutes on medium fire.
5. Add garlic, pandan leaves, cardamom and curry leaves to the pot, stir it well and fry on medium fire until light brown.
6. Add the chicken pieces ot the pot, stir well and leave it for 3 minutes on low fire.
7. Add 1/4 cup of water, stir and simmer for 20 minutes on low fire, while adding more water if necessary.