Madagascar Vanilla Curry Chicken

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Last Updated on April 15, 2021 by Chef Mireille

Malagasy Style Vanilla Curry Chicken is a quick and delicious chicken recipe that is perfect for a weeknight meal. With the aromatic flavor of fresh vanilla bean, this is one of the most delicious chicken curries you will ever try.

For best results, you should use Madagascar Vanilla, known around the world for having the best quality and flavor.

Malagasy Chicken Curry

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This month Food of the World has decided to explore the little known island of Madagascar. Sure most of us have seen the animated movie, but otherwise, I’ll wager most of us know little about the history and even less about the cuisine of Madagascar.

I don’t usually write this much about the background of a country, but I was so intrigued the more I read about this little island nation, I was excited to share the knowledge.

Facts about Madagascar

Madagascar was originally settled by people from the Indonesian island of Borneo. Later, Africans came and it was later colonized by the French. There is also some Indian & Chinese influence as they were exposed to traders from these countries. Because of this, Malagasy cuisine is a wonderful fusion of Southeast Asian, Indian, Chinese, French and traditional African.

Similar to the other French African island nation in the Indian Ocean, Reunion Island, which I explored here, I knew I would find similarities in this cuisine and would love it as much. In fact, the Lasary Citron I made from Reunion Island is also made in Madagascar.

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Although it is an island rich in natural resources, the country has been plagued by brutal colonization and then corrupt governments since it’s independence and most Malagasy live on less than $2 a day.

Because of this, most only eat meat once a week and live on a primarily Vegetarian diet with rice being the staple of the meal, often being served with a coconut sauce (if you’re in the coastal areas) or a spicy tomato based sauce (inland areas), beans and green leaf vegetables like mango tree leaves or pepper plant leaves. All these side dishes are known as laokas. For those who can afford meat, pork and zebu (a type of humped cattle) are most common, with fish and seafood more common in coastal areas.

It has such a diverse ecosystem, with many animals being found nowhere else in the world. Unfortunately, most of their lush forests and jungles have been burned down and little remains of its fertile land.

It was quite easy for me to develop a recipe indicative of Malagasy cuisine. After perusing Malagasy recipes, watching Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown episode on Madagascar and consulting articles about Malagasy cuisine, I realized it had a lot of similarities with the cuisine of Martinique and Dominica, my grandmother’s birthplace. I shouldn’t be surprised as these islands were also colonized by the French, causing a fusion cuisine between French and African flavors and cooking techniques.

Madagascar Vanilla is known as some of the best in the world and is used in many savory preparations as well as sweet. I have also noticed this use of vanilla in recipes from places like Tahiti and Samoa. Since it grows abundantly in these places, it’s mostly likely why you find it in all kinds of dishes and not just desserts, as we are used to in the West.

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So now let’s see how easy it is to make Vanilla Chicken Curry.

How to make Madagascar Vanilla Curry Chicken

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yield: Serves 5
Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 thinly sliced onion
  • 3 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 split vanilla bean
  • 5 cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 22 oz. boneless and skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 chopped plum tomatoes
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil. Add onion, garlic and ginger. Saute until they start to change color.
Add coconut milk, vanilla bean, cloves, turmeric and curry powder. Add 1 cup water and bring to a boil.
Add chicken pieces. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
Add tomato, salt and black pepper to taste. Simmer another 5 minutes.

Making Malagasy Curry Chicken

Although it usually served with rice, I had some leftover Cou-Cou after demonstrating this recipe on the first episode of Savour the Flavour’s Season 3 here. Since this is something that is represented in many African countries, I thought it would make a perfect accompaniment. I then spiced it up with a little Lasary Citron.

Madagascar Vanilla Chicken Curry

A delicious African meal!

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Madagascar Vanilla Curry Chicken

A quick and easy Chicken Curry made with fresh vanilla bean.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Chicken
Cuisine: African
Servings: 5 people
Calories: 404kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 thinly sliced onion
  • 3 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 split vanilla bean
  • 5 cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 22 oz. boneless and skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 chopped plum tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Heat oil. Add onion, garlic and ginger. Saute until they start to change color.
  • Add coconut milk, vanilla bean, cloves, turmeric and curry powder. Add 1 cup water and bring to a boil.
  • Add chicken pieces. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
  • Add tomato, salt and black pepper to taste. Simmer another 5 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 404kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 119mg | Sodium: 128mg | Potassium: 698mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 453IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 5mg
Did you try this recipe? Leave a comment below.Please follow me on Instagram @chefmireille or tag me #chefmireille with your pics! I’d love to share them!
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Thank you for sharing!

About Chef Mireille

CHEF MIREILLE - AUTHOR, RECIPE DEVELOPER AND PHOTOGRAPHER FOR Global Kitchen Travels
***
Chef Mireille is a NYC based freelance chef instructor and food photographer. Due to her very diverse family background, she was able to travel and learn about global cultures and flavors from a young age. Her passion for culture, cooking, history and education had made her an expert on developing traditional globally inspired recipes & delicious fusion cuisine.
Her extensive travel history provides a plethora of background information and Travel Tips!

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Comments

  1. Pavani

    Awesome post Mir. Your knowledge of the various cuisines and the influences of different countries is amazing – you should think of writing a global cookbook.
    Adding vanilla to a savory curry is interesting.

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