Thanks for this “casserole,” which she brought to the 2017 Garden Club Potluck.
2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into small pieces
2 tbsp oil (or chicken fat rendered from chicken thighs)
2 shallots chopped fine (or one chopped onion)
2 tbsp curry paste (I used Tikka Masala made by Patak's Original concentrated curry paste - Tastes of India - which is described as medium hot)
1 can pumpkin
2 tbsp ketchup (or 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce)
1 cauliflower cut into small pieces
Saute chicken in oil until only slightly pink. Add shallots and saute for an additional 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Add salt to taste (I do not add salt). Good served over rice.
My mother and grandmother taught me how to make curry. Use any meat in any quantity. If using beef or lamb I simmer for 40 minutes; otherwise, it is much the same recipe. My Granny said a good curry has four flavors; sweet, sour, hot and savory. Sweetness often comes from fruit. She might add applesauce, or a little leftover jam, but raisins, dried apricots, bananas, and in the above recipe pumpkin works too to add natural sweetness. Sour comes from something with vinegar. I usually add ketchup or Worcestershire sauce. Hot comes from chili peppers, usually in the curry paste, but easily added with hot sauce if extra is needed. Savory comes from the meat and curry paste.
Sometimes I add a tablespoon of cumin or curry powder if I have it handy. Once in a while I add a can of coconut milk. For both color and flavor I often add tomato paste or tomato sauce. Anything you might put in a stew, such as celery or carrots, can also go in a curry. Sometimes I need to add water or broth to allow the meat to simmer gently, and other times at the end I thicken the broth with instant mashed potato or flour mixed in cold water. My friend Taina taught me that adding quartered hardboiled eggs and potatoes cut into chunks can stretch a curry to feed a crowd. It is always good to make too much, because curry makes wonderful leftovers.
My mother always thought that a curry served on a bed of rice surrounded by a circle of petit pois peas made a dramatic dinner party entree.