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The Editor’s weeknight curry.

Anybody who cooks curry will wind up creating her own idiosyncratic variations on standard themes. Nobody could consider this simple, emphatically Anglo-Indian inspired rendition authentically Indian but that does not diminish its appeal. Consider this easy formula (the longish ingredient list is deceptive) but a point of departure. For four as a single main course or more as part of a multicurry spread.


  • India_brit_dinner_party014.jpg1 lb boned and skinned chicken thighs cut into 1 inch chunks
  • a Tablespoon or so of neutral oil
  • about 2 Tablespoons curry powder
  • about 3 cups quartered mushrooms
  • a sweet onion cut into thin crescents
  • 4-6 minced scallion whites
  • 2 minced shallots
  • 2 or 3 chilies of your choice; their amount of heat can vary wildly
  • salt
  • about 2 Tablespoons coconut, cane or other vinegar
  • about 2 Tablespoons grated ginger
  • 2 more Tablespoons curry powder, more or less
  • about 1 Tablespoon ponzu or soy sauce
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • juice of ½ lime
  • juice of the other half lime
  • 4-5 minced scallion greens
  • lots of chopped cilantro


  1. Toss the chicken in the first batch of curry powder while you prepare the other ingredients; let it stand as long as you can.
  2. Heat the oil in a big skillet over high heat until it shimmers, then sear the chicken; you want it to color but do not want it to cook fully.
  3. Remove the chicken from the skillet and replace it with the mushrooms. Sear them and remove them.
  4. If your skillet is dry, add some more oil before reducing the heat to medium and softening the onion, garlic, shallot, scallion whites and chilies.
  5. Stir the vinegar into the onion mixture and reduce it away.
  6. Stir the ginger and second batch of curry powder around in the onion mixture for a minute or so, then pour on the first half of lime juice, ponzu and coconut milk.
  7. Bring the sauce to a boil, return the chicken and mushrooms to the skillet, reduce the heat and simmer the curry for about 30 minutes or longer if you like.
  8. When you are ready for dinner, stir the second half of lime juice, scallion greens and cilantro into the curry and serve it with rice.



-If you prefer white meat use it but beware: It tends to dry.

-Know your curry powder. They vary a lot in terms both of elements and heat. Some Old School blends like Tiger Tiger even include flour and salt. Caribbean curry powders tend to be brighter; Vadouvan is toastier and earthier than Anglo-Indian or Indian blends.

-To make a brighter curry, substitute a few sliced stalks of celery and a chopped apple for the mushrooms. Add the celery with everything else at Step 4; add the apple after Step 5.

-As the Editor always notes, minced ginger from a jar is entirely acceptable.

-If you like bacon, try frying some chopped bacon at the outset of the recipe. Remove it from the skillet and fry the chicken in its fat. Stir 2 Tablespoons of flour into the skillet before the liquids at Step 6, substitute lemon juice for lime and chicken stock for the coconut milk. Return the bacon to the skillet with the chicken and mushrooms at Step 7. Everyone likes bacon.

-The base curry works with lamb or pork and even beef.