Each year on January 12, curried chicken lovers enthusiastically celebrate National Curried Chicken Day.
When making a true curried chicken, don’t reach for the curry powder. Instead, chicken is stewed in a sauce made from clarified butter (known as ghee) onions, garlic and a variety of spices such as cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger and turmeric. Other ingredients include chilies and tomatoes.
“Curries came into favor as an excellent way of using up cold meat.” Lizzie Collingham Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors
Curry powder made its way into recipes by way of Britain. Their long-time presence in India left a desire for the flavors of the East on the palates of many of the English. Curry powder and recipes with it existed as early as the 1700s but curried chicken and other curried meat recipes gained popularity during the British Raj beginning in 1858.
In parts of the United States, curried chicken is a popular dish known as Country Captain Chicken, a stewed chicken dish that has been flavored with curry powder.
The following clip, originating from the Hobson-Jobson Dictionary, is regarding Country Captain:
“COUNTRY-CAPTAIN. This is in Bengal the name of a peculiar dry kind of curry, often served as a breakfast dish. We can only conjecture that it was a favourite dish at the table of the skippers of ‘country ships,’ who were themselves called ‘country captains,’ as in our first quotation. In Madras the term is applied to a spatchcock dressed with onions and curry stuff, which is probably the original form. [Riddell says: “Country-captain.—Cut a fowl in pieces; shred an onion small and fry it brown in butter; sprinkle the fowl with fine salt and curry powder and fry it brown; then put it into a stewpan with a pint of soup; stew it slowly down to a half and serve it with rice” (Ind. Dom. Econ. 176).]“
1792.—”But now, Sir, a Country Captain is not to be known from an ordinary man, or a Christian, by any certain mark whatever.” Madras Courier, April 26.
c. 1825.—”The local name for their business was the ‘Country Trade,’ the ships were ‘Country Ships,’ and the masters of them ‘Country Captains.’ Some of my readers may recall a dish which was often placed before us when dining on board these vessels at Whampoa, viz. ‘Country Captain.’”—The Fankwae at Canton (1882), p. 33. (Wikipedia)
“Country Captain was served to United States 32nd President, Franklin D. Roosevelt along with General George E. Patton in 1940 by Mrs. W.L. Bullard of Warm Springs, Georgia. Their strong liking of the dish brought it’s popularity to the Southern United States.”
HOW TO OBSERVE
Try one of these curried chicken recipes:
Curried Chicken Salad
Curried Chicken Thighs
Curried Chicken with Rice