This recipe is one that my mother makes. When I was a young girl I’d sit, on a high stool, in the corner of the kitchen mesmerised as she’d chop and slice onions, garlic, ginger, roast and crush whole spices to conjure up her own curry powder. I haven’t been taught how to cook this curry, somehow, perhaps by osmosis, I have absorbed the know how. This slow cooker Sri Lankan chicken curry recipe takes me back to that time when I was a little girl, sitting in the corner of the kitchen, watching the magic happen.
How to make a slow cooker Sri Lankan chicken curry
The slow cooker
I’ve started using a slow cooker to make my Sri Lankan chicken curry. I can simply throw the ingredients into the pot and walk away, returning six hours later for a perfect slow cooker Sri Lankan red curry. The slow cooker yields a succulent curry with the flavour of the spices soaked deep into the meat which melts away from the bone.
The whole spices
I always start off my curries by frying an initial batch of whole spices, usually cumin seeds and mustard seeds along with the curry leaves and chilli before I add the onions, garlic and ginger.
The curry leaves
I like to use curry leaves in my Sri Lankan curry recipes.
Curry leaves are dark green, from a sub-tropical tree that is native to India and Sri Lanka. When fried, it gives off a very distinct, nutty aroma.
You will find fresh curry leaves in most Asian grocers, or you can order online. If I can’t get fresh curry leaves I use dried curry leaves which are just as good.
If you can get hold of fresh curry leaves, you can make them last a little longer by putting them into a freezer bag, and store in the freezer and use when needed.
For the heat, I prefer either fresh chillies or dried chillies to chilli powder (but I do sometimes sneak in a bit of chilli powder with the spice mix). Whole chillies, dried or fresh give a more rounded heat. And the amount of heat? That’s personal and I am going to leave that up to you!
The spice mix
There are so many combinations of curry powder. For this recipe, I use a standard garam masala mix. It’s a fantastic all-purpose blend of spices.
I will be honest, I only ever added turmeric to give my curries a deeper, richer, redder hue. But this rocking rhizome has so much going for it and is best known for its anti-inflammatory benefits and anti-oxidant properties.
For this recipe, I use tinned crushed tomatoes. Buy a good quality brand, otherwise, the curry sauce will be far too watery.
Use the best chicken you can afford, the quality makes a difference. Personally, I think the best chicken cuts for curry are the dark chicken meats, the thighs and drumsticks.
I make this slow cooker Sri Lankan chicken curry with the skin on, and the meat on the bone because that’s where all the flavour is.