HomeDinnerAuthentic Jamaican Curry Chicken

Authentic Jamaican Curry Chicken

- Advertisement -

Authentic Jamaican Curry Chicken


When it comes to flavorful, hearty meals, Authentic Jamaican Curry Chicken takes the spotlight. This dish, rich in spices and cultural heritage, offers a delightful culinary experience that captures the essence of Jamaican cuisine. Popular not just in Jamaica but worldwide, this dish brings warmth and a burst of flavors to any table. Let’s explore what makes Jamaican curry chicken special and how you can prepare it at home.

- Advertisement -

Ingredients Overview

To create an authentic Jamaican curry chicken, you’ll need the following ingredients:

- Advertisement -
  • Chicken: Preferably bone-in, cut into pieces.
  • Jamaican curry powder: The heart of the dish.
  • Onion: Chopped.
  • Garlic: Minced.
  • Ginger: Freshly grated.
  • Scotch bonnet pepper: For that signature heat.
  • Thyme: Fresh sprigs.
  • Allspice: Also known as pimento.
  • Potatoes: Diced.
  • Carrots: Sliced.
  • Coconut milk: Adds richness.
  • Oil: For frying.
  • Salt and pepper: To taste.

Optional add-ins include bell peppers, green onions, and cilantro for extra flavor and color.

- Advertisement -

The Essence of Jamaican Curry

Jamaican curry powder is what sets this dish apart. Unlike other curry powders, Jamaican curry is a unique blend of turmeric, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, and allspice. This combination gives it a distinct, slightly sweet, and spicy flavor profile that’s integral to the dish.

Benefits of Cooking with Chicken

Chicken is a versatile and nutritious protein, offering high levels of lean protein, vitamins, and minerals. It’s also relatively quick to cook and absorbs the flavors of spices and seasonings wonderfully, making it ideal for this curry dish.

Why Jamaican Cuisine Stands Out

Jamaican cuisine is a melting pot of various cultural influences, including African, Spanish, British, and East Indian. This fusion has resulted in a vibrant and diverse culinary tradition characterized by bold flavors and unique cooking techniques, such as marinating meats in rich spice blends and slow cooking.

Essential Tools for the Recipe

To prepare Jamaican curry chicken, you’ll need a few essential tools:

  • A large pot or Dutch oven: For cooking the curry.
  • A sharp knife: For chopping and preparing ingredients.
  • Cutting board: For preparing vegetables and chicken.
  • Wooden spoon: For stirring.

Optional tools like a garlic press and a grater for ginger can make the preparation process easier.

Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions

1. Marinating the Chicken:
Start by cleaning the chicken pieces and patting them dry. In a large bowl, season the chicken with salt, pepper, and a generous amount of Jamaican curry powder. Add minced garlic, grated ginger, and thyme sprigs. Let it marinate for at least an hour, preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to meld.

2. Preparing the Vegetables:
Chop the onion, slice the carrots, dice the potatoes, and mince the Scotch bonnet pepper (wear gloves to avoid skin irritation). Set aside.

3. Cooking the Curry:
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent. Add the marinated chicken pieces, browning them on all sides. Stir in the Scotch bonnet pepper, ensuring it’s well mixed. Add the diced potatoes and sliced carrots to the pot, followed by the remaining curry powder.

Pour in the coconut milk and enough water to cover the chicken and vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Stir occasionally and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.

Tips for Perfect Curry Chicken

To achieve the perfect consistency, allow the curry to simmer until it thickens naturally. Avoid adding too much liquid at the beginning; you can always add more if needed. Ensure even seasoning by tasting and adjusting spices throughout the cooking process.

Adjusting the Recipe for Dietary Needs

Making it Dairy-Free:
This recipe is naturally dairy-free, thanks to the use of coconut milk.

Low-Carb Adjustments:
For a low-carb version, omit the potatoes and carrots and replace them with low-carb vegetables like bell peppers and zucchini.

Serving Suggestions

Side Dishes:
Jamaican curry chicken pairs wonderfully with steamed white rice or rice and peas. You can also serve it with roti or naan bread for a complete meal.

Beverage Pairings:
A cold beer or a refreshing ginger beer complements the spicy flavors of the curry. For non-alcoholic options, try coconut water or a tropical fruit punch.

Presentation Tips

Serve the curry chicken in a large, shallow dish, garnished with fresh cilantro or green onions. A wedge of lime on the side can add a refreshing zing when squeezed over the top.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep well for up to 3 days.

Reheat gently in a pot over medium heat, adding a splash of water or coconut milk to maintain the curry’s consistency. Alternatively, you can use a microwave, stirring halfway through to ensure even heating.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Pitfalls in Cooking Curry Chicken:

  • Overcooking the chicken: This makes it dry and tough.
  • Underseasoning: Ensure the chicken and curry are well-seasoned for maximum flavor.
  • Adding too much liquid: This can dilute the flavors.

How to Fix Common Issues:

  • If the chicken is overcooked, shred it and let it simmer in the curry to absorb moisture.
  • If the curry is underseasoned, adjust the spices gradually, tasting as you go.
  • If there’s too much liquid, let the curry simmer uncovered to reduce and thicken.

The Cultural Significance of Jamaican Curry Chicken

Jamaican curry chicken holds a special place in the heart of Jamaican cuisine. It reflects the island’s rich history and the blend of cultures that have influenced its culinary traditions. From the African maroon communities to the Indian indentured laborers, each group has left its mark, making this dish a symbol of Jamaica’s diverse heritage.


Authentic Jamaican Curry Chicken is more than just a meal; it’s a taste of Jamaica’s vibrant culture and history. This flavorful dish, with its rich blend of spices and hearty ingredients, is sure to become a favorite in your culinary repertoire. Give it a try and bring a piece of Jamaica into your kitchen!


Can I use boneless chicken?
Yes, you can use boneless chicken, but bone-in chicken adds more flavor to the dish.

What can I substitute for Scotch bonnet peppers?
If you can’t find Scotch bonnet peppers, you can use habanero peppers or a combination of jalapeño and cayenne pepper.

How can I make this dish spicier?
To increase the heat, add more Scotch bonnet peppers or include some hot sauce in the marinade.

Is there a vegetarian version of this recipe?
Yes, you can substitute the chicken with tofu or chickpeas and use vegetable broth instead of water for a vegetarian version.

How long does it take to cook?
From start to finish, this dish takes about 1 hour to prepare and cook, including marinating time.

Authentic Jamaican Curry Chicken

When it comes to flavorful, hearty meals, Authentic Jamaican Curry Chicken takes the spotlight. This dish, rich in spices and cultural heritage, offers a delightful culinary experience that captures the essence of Jamaican cuisine. Popular not just in Jamaica but worldwide, this dish brings warmth and a burst of flavors to any table. Let's explore what makes Jamaican curry chicken special and how you can prepare it at home.

  • 3-4 lbs. organic chicken (skin removed (Drumsticks + Thigh pieces work great!))
  • 1-2 Tbsps browning (optional (See Notes!))
  • 2-3 Tbsps Jamaican Green Seasoning (You can substitute with all-purpose seasoning!)
  • 2 Tbsps Jamaican curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 4 Tbsps Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsps organic brown sugar
  • 1 14 oz. can full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 medium russet potatoes (peeled + cubed)
  • 2 medium carrots (peeled + chopped)
  • 1 medium bell pepper (cored removed + chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 tsps minced fresh ginger (You can sub with ½ teaspoon ground ginger)
  • 1-3 scotch bonnet peppers (Adjust to your level of spiciness; You can also use habanero peppers)
  • 2 green onions (lightly crushed or chopped (AKA Scallion))
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 cup organic chicken stock (low-sodium (You can also use chicken bone broth))
  • 2 ½ Tbsps Jamaican curry powder (See Amazon Shop for authentic brand)
  • 1 tablespoon Jamaican pepper sauce (You can substitute with your favorite brand of hot sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • sea salt + black pepper (to taste)
  1. In a large bowl, add your freshly cleaned + rinsed chicken along with browning, Green Seasoning, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, parsley, thyme, and curry powder, mixing everything together until chicken is fully coated. Add coated chicken to a securely sealed ziplock bag and place in the refrigerator for 3 hours (minimum). NOTE: Best if marinaded overnight. When ready to use, let chicken sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before cooking.

    In a deep skillet or pot over medium-high heat, add 2 Tbsps of olive oil and once fully heated, add the brown sugar. Stir the brown sugar in oil and let it sit until it becomes wet like in texture in semi-dissolves. Now, add in the marinated chicken and cook on each side until seared, about 3-4 minutes each side. Remove from heat and set aside on a plate. NOTE: This creates a beautiful "brown" color which makes using the browning sauce optional.


    If using authentic Jamaican curry powder, it's super important to first "burn" your powder. SEE NOTES FOR MORE.

    In the same deep skillet or pot over medium-high heat, add another 2 Tbsps olive oil and once fully heated, add curry powder. Stir curry powder in oil and let it sit until it becomes a dark brown and becomes fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.


    Add the minced garlic, ginger, scotch bonnet peppers, green onions, carrots, and bell peppers, sautéing until fragrant and golden. Add the allspice, salt, and black pepper, stirring until combined.

    Pour in the coconut milk, chicken stock/broth, and pepper sauce, stirring until combined. Let the mixture boil for a minute or so before adding the chicken, cubed potatoes, crushed scallion (aka green onions), and thyme sprigs, stirring to incorporate. Reduce the heat to simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until sauce thickens and the chicken is cooked through and tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat once done. NOTE: The sauce should be thick, but with a good amount of gravy for the side dish.To serve, enjoy the curry chicken with your favorite side (i.e. rice, veggies, etc.). Garnish with a bit of chopped scallion and/or sprinkles of red pepper flakes, if desired.

  • STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, you can do this easily in the microwave or over the stovetop (adding ½ cup or so of chicken stock if needed) until warmed through and saucy.
  • TURMERIC:You can add 1 teaspoon of turmeric to the curry sauce, if desired. While adding turmeric is optional, it definitely has benefits: powerful medicinal properties, natural anti-inflammatory ingredient, increases antioxidant activity in the body, and more.
  • BURNING THE CURRY POWDER:When using Jamaican curry powder, it’s important to burn the powder first to avoid digestive issues for some people because of it’s potency. In addition, the “burning” process releases better flavor + color.

- Advertisement -

Most Popular

Recent Comments

Latest Recıpes