Calcutta Chicken Curry
The menu at Trader Vic’s in Beverly Hills used to offer both Calcutta and “Susu” curries—the latter milder and creamier—made with chicken, beef, lamb, or shrimp. They came with an assortment of often unlikely condiments, as below; adding those to the dish enlivens it considerably.
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- 2 1⁄2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 1⁄2″-thick pieces
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled and quartered lengthwise
- 1 small carrot, peeled, trimmed, and quartered crosswise
- 1 rib celery, quartered crosswise
- 1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 4 tbsp. hot Madras curry powder
- 1⁄3 cup dry white wine
- 2⁄3 cup unsweetened canned coconut milk
- 1 1⁄2 cups chicken stock
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 4 cups steamed white rice, hot
- 4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and halved
- 4 sprigs fresh cilantro
- 1 banana, peeled and diced
- 1 small tomato, cored and diced
- 2 slices seeded cucumber, halved
- 1⁄4 cup currants
- 1⁄4 cup roasted unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
- 1⁄4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1⁄4 cup Chowchow
- 1⁄2 cup Trader Vic’s Calcutta chutney or other fruit-based chutney
- Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken, onions, carrots, celery, and thyme and cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is just cooked through but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Add wine and cook for 1 minute, then add coconut milk and stock and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. Uncover pot and cook until sauce is slightly thicker than heavy cream, about 10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Transfer chicken to a bowl and cover to keep warm. Transfer vegetables and sauce to a blender and purée until smooth. Return purée and chicken to pot and stir well. Adjust seasonings.
- Divide curry between 4 warm wide shallow bowls and put one-quarter of the rice beside curry in each bowl. Add 2 egg halves to each bowl and garnish with a sprig of cilantro. Put banana, tomato and cucumbers, currants, sunflower seeds, coconut, chowchow, and chutney into individual bowls, to be served with the curry at the table.