Curry is one of those deep, rich sauces that may feel intimidating to cook at home. The flavors in this herbaceous, slightly hot, slightly sweet, creamy sauce are so complex, you figure you just have to head to your favorite Caribbean restaurant to replicate the flavors. And, sure, you certainly could do that, or you could recreate a Jamaican curry sauce straight from the kitchen of Brooklyn pan-Caribbean restaurant, KOKOMO.
Curry is a staple of Caribbean cuisine, right up there with oxtail, plantains and jerk sauce. But like other dishes at KOKOMO, Kevol and Ria Graham put their own twist on this traditional sauce.
“Obviously, curry is a big thing among the Caribbean culture, and we wouldn’t feel like an authentic restaurant without curry,” Kevol says. But they chose to serve this sauce not with goat, like one may traditionally find in the Caribbean. Instead, they use this coconut milk-based sauce as a building block for a plant-based menu item.
“We chose the lentil meatballs because of the vegan presence we have in Williamsburg and also knowing that people are trying to eat healthy,” Graham says. However, this is a versatile sauce you could serve alongside potatoes and chickpeas, cauliflower, chicken, or goat.
The key to developing a great Caribbean curry is time (and thyme).
“The coconut curry is a very thick, rich sauce. We use shallots, garlic, thyme, and Grace Jamaican curry powder. We put all of this in what we call a Dutch pot for about an hour with all the seasonings chopped up to sit there and marinate and so the consistency is perfect,” Graham describes. “As soon as you lift the lid off the pot, you can smell all the seasonings just hitting your face automatically.” But don’t just smell it—eat it.
Be sure to use a high quality Jamaican curry powder for this recipe as opposed to Indian-style curry powders. Though they are both a mix of similar spices, the proportions and exact ingredients differ and alter the flavor profile. Choose a mild curry powder if heat isn’t your thing, or reach for hot Jamaican curry powder to add some serious zing. If you’re in a real pinch, you can use Madras curry powder instead.
Jamaican Curry Sauce Recipe
This recipe is courtesy of KOKOMO
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Jamaican curry (preferably Grace brand), or to taste
- 1 quart vegetable stock
- 2 cans coconut milk
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Step 1: In a large Dutch pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the finely chopped shallots, garlic and thyme and cook for 2 minutes.
Step 2: Add 1/4 cup curry powder and cook for another 2 minutes, just lightly toasting the mix.
Step 3: Add 1 quart vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer. Once the mixture has reduced and halved, about 1 hour, add 2 cans coconut milk and stir to combine.
Step 4: Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
By Carolyn Menyes. Copyright 2021 Tribune Publishing; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC