Tasty Thursdays – Curried Chicken with Sweet Potatoes or Yams – Great for Cooking with Kids while listening to Grandma Music!

Growing up in South Africa meant that we had many curry dishes – there is a large Indian population in South Africa, many in Durban but quite a few in Johannesburg too. We spent every July in Durban since for a time we owned race horses, and would attend the Durban July Handicap – of course with wonderful hats, outfits and the accompanying pomp and ceremony that only a colony of the UK could do so well! My father loved to cook – as did my mother, and Sunday nights were the nights when, as children, we got to cook too. Chopping, cutting, assembling, stirring – it was a family event – and curry was a favorite Sunday dish. Although we ate a lot of meat ( sometimes three times a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner!) this dish is lower in fat and calories and uses chicken. I am amazed at the abandon with which we added unhealthy ingredients in the past. We have learned so much since then about heart disease and obesity, and I now prefer eating dishes that are healthier. We always serve our curries with an assortment of side dishes – like chopped coconut, chopped peanuts, and of course, mango chutney!  Here is a photo of curry powder and leaves. And don’t forget to put on the music – cooking is much more fun with Grandma music! We love to listen to the Flying Cows Sample as well as the spooky song Monsters in my Room Sample

Ingredients: ( have the children measure out all the dry stuff)

  •  1 tablespoon curry powder ( I buy from Indian markets available in large cities – but the normal curry powder you get in the grocery store is fine too)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric ( if you like less curry tang, add more turmeric and less curry powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut
    into 1-inch pieces ( if you like, you can add chicken thighs -boneless and skinless of course, we like the combination of breasts and thighs)
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger ( fresh is best – but I like short cuts when in a hurry  which is most of the time – so canned minced is acceptable)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced ( again canned minced is ok here too)
  • 1 pint of chicken broth ( I make up Better than Bouillon – delicious)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato or yams (raw)
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas ( canned are too soft)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice  ( we use Mayer Lemons from our farm)


  1. Combine curry powder, coriander, turmeric, salt, black pepper, and bay leaf in a small bowl. This is perfect for the children to do. Put a large layer of paper towels under the bowl so any bits that fall out can be scooped up and added back in!
  2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  3. Add chicken to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove chicken from pan. Reduce heat to medium.
  5. Add onion to pan; cook 10 minutes or until translucent, stirring often.
  6. Increase heat to medium-high; return chicken to pan. Cook 1 minute, stirring
  7. Stir in ginger and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  8. Add curry powder mixture; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  9. Add broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. The children can make up the broth ( adding water to the tablespoons of Better than Bouillon) and add the tomatoes and stir them.
  10. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour. Stir in potato. The children can throw the potato pieces into the pan – its great fun even if a few miss!
  11. Cook, uncovered, 30 minutes
  12. Add peas; cook  until thoroughly heated. Children can take the peas out of the package and add them to a small bowl then pour that into the mixture.
  13. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice
  14. Discard bay leaf
  15. Serve with Little Farm Rice with Raisins, chopped coconut, chopped nuts and mango chutney ( Mrs. Balls is terrific!)

(Adapted from MyRecipes, Chicken Tonight, December 27, 2011)

Little Farm Rice with Raisins:
Cook Basmati or Jasmine rice the normal way, but add 1/2 cup of raisins to the mixture before bringing to a boil. Yum! ( Of course the children can measure out the raisins and add them).

About Grandma

I have reinvented myself many times during my life -teacher, lawyer, business woman, CEO, Entrepreneur, Board member, Professor, Mom, Wife, Farmer, Chef, Musician, Author and now my best role of all – Grandma to multiple grandchildren, grandnephews and nieces worldwide.

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