A Taste Of The Willows’ Chicken Curry

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - January 26, 2011
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For Jeff Peterson, this year’s Grammy nominations hold something very special: two nominations in the same category. Peterson’s solo 2010 Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning album, Maui On My Mind - Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, and the compilation CD Amy Hanaiali’i and Slack Key Masters of Hawaii.

Peterson does take a break from music from time to time, and when he has a chance he loves to make classic local-style curries - especially using this recipe created by the Willows restaurant in Honolulu. “I grew up with these flavors and recipes,” he says. “I like the curries with all the condiments on the side - dried coconut, peanuts, raisins, mango chutney, bacon, green onion and even some cilantro.”

Now that’s a “compilation!”


* 6 tablespoons butter (may use less for sautéing onion and garlic)
* 1 small onion, finely chopped
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1 teaspoon minced ginger (or 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger)
* 1 tablespoon curry powder
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt (omit for low-salt diets, or just use a pinch)
* 1 quart coconut milk (may use low-fat coconut milk)
* 4 tablespoons flour
* 2 tablespoons oil (may use cooking spray instead to cook chicken)
* 1 pound raw chicken breasts (no bones or skin)


* mango chutney
* bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
* coconut, shredded
* peanuts, chopped
* raisins
* hard-cooked egg, chopped
* sweet pickles, chopped
* green onion, sliced

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat.

Sauté onion, garlic and ginger until onion is translucent.

Stir in curry powder, sugar and salt, and blend well.

Slowly pour in coconut milk, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

(Strain sauce and refrigerate if you wish to serve it later.)

Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a skillet.

Stir in flour to make a smooth paste.

Bring curry sauce to a low boil.

Add flour mixture, stirring constantly, and cook until thickened.

Heat oil in skillet and sauté chicken until cooked.

Add curry sauce to chicken and cook until thoroughly heated.

Serve curry with condiments offered in individual bowls.

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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