Chicken Curry

My version of Chicken Curry is Javanese style, adapted from Foods Galore, a bilingual cookbook published by the American Women’s Association in Indonesia. I did not make my changes until after we returned to the U.S. after living there. I wrote my recipe on a card and although I vary the ingredients from time to time, I still use this basic recipe. When I decided to share it with you, I pulled my trusty cookbook out and looked at the original ingredients which included most of mine plus 1 cup of coconut milk from 1/2 coconut!  I am glad I have canned coconut milk now!  That recipe also created its own blend of curry powder  with turmeric, cumin, lemon grass, laos (ginger) and a red chile, crushed. I am happy to use one of Penzey’s many delicious blends of curry powder these days.

You might like to know that in Jakarta, Chicken Curry is called Ayam Kari Java. I first made this version for Joe, Ben and me on July 22, 1995.

Chicken Curry, Javanese Style

4 chicken breasts, cut into large chunks

3 Tablespoons olive oil

3-4 garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

2 teaspoons red chili flakes

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

1/2 onion, chopped fine

1 Tablespoon curry powder of your choice, or to taste

1 can coconut milk (not cream of coconut)

Rub chicken with salt and brown oil until golden brown. Remove, add onion and garlic. When onion is beginning to brown, add ginger, cilantro, and chili flakes. Cook 1-2 minutes, add curry powder. Add coconut milk, blending well. Return chicken to sauce and cook until done. Serve over rice.

Curried Nuts and Dried Cherries

This is a spicy version of trail mix that will make it hard to go back to your old mix if you like curry!  Toasting the spices along with the nut mix makes your kitchen full of mouth-watering aroma.  Tart dried cherries are suggested ( my husband says he would add more!) – but any dried fruit would be delicious. We always keep dried cranberries in the pantry so I will make some soon with cranberries and chopped dried apricots.  Great party food!

Curried Nuts and Cherries

2 tsp olive oil

½ cup raw cashews

2 ½ tsp curry powder (I used hot curry powder, but use sweet if you prefer)

¾ tsp ground cumin

¾ tsp kosher salt

½ cup dried tart cherries
Heat  olive oil in a large cast iron skillet. Add all nuts, then stir in the curry powder, cumin, and salt. Toast for 5 minutes stirring frequently. Stir in the dried cherries and let the mixture cool. Serve.

Indian Summer Spinach and Pasta Salad with Curry Vinaigrette

I have been declared the winner of Dreamfield Pasta’s PastaPalooza Recipe contest! My prize is a case of my favorite pasta! The basic recipe (without pasta added) appeared a long time ago, so I thought an update was in order. Besides, I need to practice to get ready to use all that pasta! I honestly do love cooking with Dreamfield’s products. 65% lower glycemic index, only 5 net digestible carbs, and the pastas are delicious.

Assembling these ingredients, I thought this would make a good basket for the TV cooking show Chopped!  What could you make that would impress the judges if you opened the basket and found pasta, spinach, sweet curry, Granny Smith apples, mango chutney, and peanuts?  How about …


1 box Dreamfields Penne Rigate (Rotini works great, too.)

3 -4  cups fresh baby spinach

1/2 cup dried cranberries or golden raisins

1/3 cup roasted peanuts

6 green onions, thinly sliced

1 large Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, chopped

1 to 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


2/3 cup olive oil

2 to 3 tablespoons mango chutney

2 to 3 teaspoons sweet curry powder, or to taste (I use Penzey’s)

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
Cook pasta, then drain and rinse with cold water until completely cooled. Prepare dressing by putting all ingredients in jar with lid. Cover and shake to mix. Place cooled pasta in large bowl. Toss with spinach. Top with cranberries, peanuts, onions, apple and sesame seeds; drizzle with dressing. Toss gently and serve. Leftover salad is good the next day if covered and refrigerated.

Salmon Souffle

Salmon souffle is (like many of our favorite recipes) a dish with a story. Thirty-seven years ago, my good friend and neighbor Jean Merrill presented me with a gift: a cookbook titled Helen Corbitt’s Potluck.  I see several things that make me smile every time I take it from my shelf in the kitchen. First there’s its tomato red binding with a fanciful line drawing of a cow with some leaves in her mouth on the bottom right corner.  Just inside, the inscription “Mary Ann – thanks for being such a good friend. Love Jean  ’75.”  There’s the same cow from the front on the page.  Only this time she is standing with a pig and a chicken on her back.  The pig has a bottle of wine and a strawberry on its back, and the whole crew is plopped into a huge pot of vegetables labeled POTLUCK.  Not such a remarkable title for a cookbook unless you also know that Helen Corbitt was no everyday cook with her list of dishes to take to church dinners. This feisty chef authored 4 other cookbooks and is best known for her position as Director of Foods for Neiman Marcus and her menus for the Zodiac Room there.  So what makes me laugh when I pick up PotLuck is the unlikely face any recipe in there would actually find itself being called that.   In its pages, this little book has narrative and humour, and treasures from its author.  Poppy-Seed Dressing is one of her best known recipes. I have made  I have made Artichokes and Crab and a wonderful Lemon Rice Soup.  For my nieces bridal luncheon in 1983, I served Helen’s Cold Yogurt Soup.  But the recipe I have used so often that the book opens to its page is this one.  And every time I have made it, I have used leftovers, because the 1 1/2 cups of flaked salmon it calls for is just about right for leftover bits when I grill a salmon fillet.  I think Helen, the queen of sass and souffles,  would have approved.

Salmon Souffle

3 Tablespoons butter

3 Tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon curry powder (we like to use a heaping teaspoon or more)

1 1/2 cups fresh or canned salmon flakes

Pinch of thyme

Salt and pepper

1 cup milk

4 eggs, separated

Melt the butter, add flour and seasonings, and cook until bubbly.  Add milk, bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from stove.  add egg yolks beaten until light and the flaked salmon (no bones or skin). Cool.  Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.  Pour into a buttered souffle or casserole dish.  Place dish into a larger baking pan and add hot water carefully into the bottom pan (hot water bath).  Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.  Left over chicken or ham works well instead of salmon.

Serve with Bengal Sauce, recipe follows.

Bengal Sauce

1 Tablespoon butter

1 Tablespoon flour

1 cup milk or half and half


1/2 teaspoon curry powder

2 teaspoons grated coconut

1/4 cup slivered almonds

Melt butter, add flour, cook a few seconds.  Add milk and cook until smooth and thickened.  Add seasonings, coconut and nuts.

When I made this earlier this week, I served Italian plum halves filled with homemade fig chutney which I baked alongside the souffle.

Curry Soup

Yesterday’s recipe made me remember another great soup with curry.  I have been making this soup since  September 1988, when we lived in Jakarta, Indonesia.  I am fondly remembering the meal, and the three couples who came to dinner that night.  Every time I serve this, people love it and have fun guessing what the ingredients are!  I usually serve it in small espresso or demitasse cups, and seconds are always requested.

                                                Curry Soup

                                 3 Tablespoons butter

                                 1 onion, diced

                                 1 clove garlic, crushed

                                 2 Tablespoons flour

                                 1 Tablespoon curry powder

                                 2  Cups half and half

                                 1 quart chicken stock

                                 1 raw apple, peeled and quartered

                                 Salt and Pepper to taste

                                 1 Teaspoon thyme – I like to use Penzey’s French thyme.

Melt butter in large soup pot.  Add onion and garlic; cook over low heat until onion is soft and beginning to turn golden.  Add flour and curry powder; cook about 3 mintes, stirring. Add cream and chicken stock, continuing to cook and stir with a wire whisk until smooth, about 15 minutes.  Add the apple and thyme, salt and pepper.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Serve in demitasse cups before dinner.  Serves 12.

The original recipe is froom one of my all time favorite cookbooks, The Texas Experience, Friendship and Food Texas Style, which was given to me by my dear friend Sondra for Christmas in 1984.