Grandma Peggy’s Irish Chicken Curry

by Michael on February 1, 2012 · 0 comments

in Main Dishes,Poultry,Recipes

On Thursday, 14 January 2010 at about 5:20 my son asked if I could make Grandma’s chicken curry. We had just had it a month ago at my Mom’s house and he had a need. It’s meatloaf of your dreams good.

Mom has been making this for years and her mom for years before that. One of the most interesting things is that the chicken is braised in a nutmeg heavy sauce. Grandma Peggy had plenty of nutmeg but the curry was is short supply. I guess that even in NYC, curry was hard to find in the ’30’s. Who knows where she learned the dish but it’s toned down flavor is definitely from the British Isles.

This is the dish that inspired me to start writing down my Mom’s recipes. It always comes down to Mom. I have updated the dish somewhat but in its essence, I always feel like I an 10 years old when I eat this. Now 4 generations old, this is the bar that any comfort food has to reach.

I have added a few things over the years. Mostly boosting the heat and flavor. I’ll note in the recipe where the changes are optional. Basically, it’s a chicken braised in stock over rice. You could leave out the curry powder and substitute cumin for the curry and coriander for the nutmeg. Basically the technique can bend to any desired flavor.

Chicken and gravy over rice? Who cares how it’s flavored.


1lb boneless chicken breast – each cut in half
1lb boneless chicken thighs
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons mild curry powder divided
At least 4 cups chicken stock
2 cups rice
1 onion diced
2 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil

I added the onions and garlic just because I seemed right. Mom does not.
Broccoli or green beans for a side

Chopped carrots
Chili flakes or paste
Fish sauce


1). Coat the chicken in flour, shake off excess.
2). Heat a large Dutch oven or pot with about 3 tbls of oil.
3). Brown the chicken on all sides (in batches if needed).
4). Add onions in using cook 3 minutes
5). Add the nutmeg and half the curry powder – Grandma did not add curry here, but we like it.
6). Add a few good grinds of fresh pepper and chile paste or flakes to taste if you want some heat
7). Add stock to the chicken and bring to a boil –
8). Lower to a simmer and cover. Cook for 45 minutes
9). Cook rice with salt and 1 teaspoon curry – a good shot of fish sauce will add that extra something
10). Steam broccoli/cook veggies.
11). Remove chicken and cook sauce until slightly thinner than gravy if needed
12). Check sauce for salt, pepper, nutmeg and curry – adjust to taste

I tend to use a lot more spice than Mom ever did.

Serve chicken over rice and cover with the sauce. Offer more hot sauce for the adventurous. Either you like it hot, or you are wrong.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: