This is a delightful dish our mom would prepare whenever there was leftover chicken from the day before (usually on a Monday). She would curry the beans and the last 5 minutes or so add in the chicken pieces for the perfect accompaniment for boiled rice or hot roti off the tawa. In this version I’ll do things a little different by doing the curry chicken base first, then we’ll add the trimmed beans and simmer it all in some coconut milk.
1.5 lbs chicken thighs
1 lb string beans
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Caribbean green seasoning
2 tablespoon veg oil
1.5 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon amchar massala (optional)
4 cloves garlic
5 birds eye pepper (aka bird pepper)
1 cup coconut milk
Notes. I used a madras curry blend (made in the Caribbean). The chicken thighs were deboned, but feel free to use bone-in (about 2lbs).. cook a little longer. Do NOT cut the peppers, simply remove the stems and use whole. We’ll get some flavor from them, without the raw heat.
Cut the chicken into 1 -2 inch pieces, wash and drain. Then season with the salt, black pepper, green seasoning and amchar massala (you can also use ground roasted geera – cumin) and allow to marinate for about 1 hour. In the meantime you can trim the string beans (simply cut off the tips and cut into 2 inch pieces).
Heat the oil in a fairly large pan on med-high, then add the chopped shallot (you can also use onion) and garlic and turn the heat down to low. Cook this gently for about 3 minutes. Then add the curry powder and stir well. Cook for a further 3 minutes to get the raw curry taste out. It will go darker in colour and go a bit grainy.
Now add the peppers (do not break them unless you want the heat) and cook for about 30 seconds, then add in the seasoned chicken and mix well to deglaze the pan and to coat the chicken pieces with the lovely curry base we created.
Turn the heat up to medium/high and cook the chicken with the lid uncovered for about 4-5 minutes. Then add the trimmed beans and coconut milk (remember to give it a good stir) and bring to a boil. Place the lid on the pan and cook for about 10 minutes (depending on how well you like your beans cooked) on a simmer (so lower the heat).
Remove the lid and time to finish off the dish. You check for salt at this point (adjust accordingly) and you can also personalize the dish at this point. Depending if you want gravy or not, you can now turn up the heat and burn off all the remaining liquid. OPTIONAL: Toss in a few cherry tomatoes, turn off the heat and place the lid back on. The residual heat will soften the tomatoes so it does not go to mush and really give the dish some colour.
This is a dish Tehya simply craves (me too) and it’s a great way to get children eating vegetables. But please try to not overcook the beans as it will take on a soggy texture and loose it’s bright flavor.