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UK Pub-style Chicken Curry???

I have looked high and low and I cannot find a recipe for what I am looking for. Can anyone help me?

I would love to replicate a chicken curry that is like the ones served in pubs all over England and Ireland, but I cannot find a recipe.

I can find a million recipes for Indian, Thai, and Japanese curries all over the internet, but I'm not looking for that.

The pub-style curry recipe I'm looking for is really saucy, creamy (no yogurt or coconut milk - this style uses cream), sweet and maybe a bit fruity??? I had some with the addition of apples and mango or was it a fruit chutney that was added to the sauce...?

I hope someone out there can help me! Please?

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  1. You might check this one out....I googled "British chicken curry"...

    6 Replies
    1. re: ccbweb

      Thanks for replying and I did see that one, but what I'm looking for doesn't have mushrooms or parsley (as an ingredient) in it. I highly doubt it uses bouillon as well. This dish is basically chicken breast pieces in a smooth yellow curry cream sauce – I know that sautéed onions are used to flavor the sauce (among other things), but there are no real discernable veggies. This dish is pretty common and standard in the UK....I don't know why I can't find a recipe…? Weird.

      I can come up with a curry sauce, but I’m clueless on how to make it sweet…I don’t know if pureed fruit (apples, apricots, mango???) or chutney is used to sweeten it. I’ve tried making it with diced apples and another time with diced mango, but both times, the sweetness level just wasn’t there. I tried adding sugar, but it just didn’t quite do it. That’s the part I’m totally clueless about.

      The recipe I’ve seen that looks like it is closest to what I am looking for is “Coronation Chicken,” but that’s a chicken salad.

      Coronation Chicken

      2.3kg (5lb) chicken
      1 tbsp vegetable oil
      1 small, finely chopped onion
      1 tbsp curry paste
      1 tbsp tomato puree
      100ml red wine
      1 bay leaf
      1/2 lemon juice
      4 finely chopped apricot halves
      300ml (1/2 pint) Mayonnaise
      100ml (4 fl oz) whipping cream
      Salt and pepper
      Watercress to garnish

      1. re: Workalot

        I dread to put this on a chowhound home cooking board but...

        if you can find in the British section of your supermarket (Publix in Florida has this) you need a jar of Homepride or any other curry sauce preferable a Korma or other mild sauce. You might also be able to get Patak or another make and I think I saw curry sauces in Wholefoods.

        approx 2lbs of chicken, 1 onion, chop onion and fry till translucent, add chicken in bite size pieces till brown but not cooked through. Add the jar of sauce and simmer for about an hour. Add a handful of ground almonds (almond flour) some spices like cumin, coriander and maybe some curry powder to taste, s and p.
        Add banana chunks and we like mango pieces (canned is fine) or lychees, cook for a bit longer till banana is soft. Add some heavy cream - obviously don't boil it now and if you want some coconut milk, taste and adjust curry spices and seasoning, you may want to up the almonds or coconut milk. you can also add raisins but not too many.

        serve on basmati rice.

        I am English and cannot get good curry here in my part of Florida so when we get a craving for a curry this is the best I can come up with at short notice without doing a whole homemade curry paste. I am not Indian so apologise to real curry conoisseurs.

        1. re: Workalot

          Yeah, it sounds like what you're looking for is the stuff they sell in the spice section of supermarkets called "curry powder." It's yellow and has a very distinct aroma. I'd think you would have to experiment with the other ingredients and cream.

          I used to work in a sandwich shop here in England. Our Coronation Chicken was made from Patak's Madras curry paste, mango chutney, and mayonnaise.

          Come to think of it, the pub probably used a paste like Patak's. If I were in your shoes, and I had the contact info for the pub, I'd get in touch and ask them. Heck, I'll call them for you if you remember which pub it was.

          1. re: Kagey

            By chance, did you work at Pret? They have a recipe posted online that includes tomato puree, and I was wondering if tomato puree in the UK is the same as tomato paste in the States. (http://www.pret.com/pdfs/Coronation_C...) The reason I'm asking is because I used tomato paste in the original cooked version (posted by Workalot above), and the reduction became very dry. Also, is thick cream the same as heavy cream? I used Patak's Hot Curry Paste--that could have been the wrong one to use, too. It looked more like Russian dressing rather than curry dressing.

            1. re: grubcrawl

              I'm pretty sure tomato puree = tomato sauce.

              1. re: cackalackie

                Tomato puree is tomato paste in the US.

      2. Major Grey's chutney of some sort? That might do the sweet bit...beyond that, sounds like a basic yellow curry powder sauce. Onions, lots of curry powder (Penzey's sells a "sweet curry powder") and cream...I'm betting that's about it aside from salt and pepper and, if I'm on target, the chutney.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ccbweb

          Chutney on the side, maybe. But you don't cook it into a curry.

          1. re: k_d

            Normally, I'd agree...but the OP is describing a particular thing that doesn't sound like it comes from any one traditional source but is something people whipped together in pubs. My guess at it was to actually put the chutney in the sauce because it seemed to fit the parameters.

          2. re: ccbweb

            From having been to England with British co-workers and our company owner, I remember a number of pub curries.
            I was surprised at the blandness compared to some Houston Indian restaurant curries.
            My guess follows ccbweb's in fry the onions, then fry the curry powder in the oil, then add the meat, then liquids and simmer. It's up to each eater to add coconut flackes, raisins, toasted nuts, fresh blanched veggies....whatever.

            1. re: ccbweb

              I LOVE Penzey's Maharajah Curry (1% saffron.) It's ridiculously good! To add sweetness try a sprinkling of golden raisins to the curry.

            2. I'm not English, nor Indian, but I feel like this is similar to what my family in NEngland makes. I make it quite often myself - here's the basics:
              butter, add chopped onions and cook on low until soft.
              then add cut up pieces of chicken breast. salt, pepper, and yellow curry powder. now the type of curry powder seems like it would be impt here - given the situation I would steer away from traditional spice mixes and perhaps chose a Carribbean store or Chinese even. There is also some kind of curry mix in a yellow can? that I think is British-inspired. anyway look for yellow curry -
              after adding curry, add soaked raisins and sliced almonds, then add heavy cream. you may need to add some sugar depending on your taste, or more curry powder. this will give you a bland, sweet curry.

              i make this sometimes with no raisins or almonds, and sub some fresh tomato towards the end. it is also good with cilantro and/or ginger.

              1. When I first learned to cook I tried to replicate a similar sounding one we had in Canada - canned fruit cocktail did the trick. I did use sour cream and cream to get a tiny bit of contrasting tartness, but syrup that clung to the canned fruit was the prominent sweet against the "exotic" of the curry powder.

                1. these sounded kind of right when i googled it. but since it's the irish heart association's attempt to make these healthy they have no cream. might be easy to add.

                  1. One of the fist curry dishes I made was a delicious seafood curry using scallops and prawns. It's a signature dish of mine and it is made with wine, and cream, there is no fruit.
                    Would you like the recipe?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      i would! sounds wonderful and like a hit at my house! thanks.

                      1. re: AMFM

                        I am so sorry that I never responded, this about the 5th one I haven't seen, so sorry!

                        Here it is:
                        1/4 cup butter'
                        1 small white onion finely diced
                        2-3 cloves garlic finely minced or smashed
                        2 T Madras curry powder
                        1/4 lb sea scallops rinsed patted dry
                        1 lb med raw shrimp30-50 count shelled, deveined and cleaned
                        1 cup whipping cream
                        1 cup dry white wine or vermouth
                        1/2 tsp summer savory
                        1 T cornstarch blended with 2 T water making a slurry
                        salt and white pepper
                        jasmine rice

                        Melt the butter in a wide saute pan, add onion, garlic, and curry powder. Cook stirring often, until onion is soft, about 5 mins. Add the scallops, and the shrimp cook until opague. Cut one, then remove. Live out the shell fish with a slotted spoon cover and keep warm on a plate.
                        Remove pan from the heat and stir in the wine. Let the wine cook a while to remove the alcohol, then add the cream, and add the cornstarch mixture. Add your shell fish back into the pan and any juices, bring the cream back to a simmer (but don't boil).

                        If you like a lot of sauce, what I do is double everything but the shellfish.The sauce has a tendancy to thicken if it simmers too long, and so I'll sometimes add a little chicken broth to thin it out.
                        I've never had the London pub curry, but I prefer the hot curry powder. I'm able to find a really nice curry sold by bulk. I love this because I can keep fresh vibrant curry onhand.
                        Make sure to season to taste, salt and pepper. I've added red pepper too and another thing, I sometimes will mix scallions with the white onions and then serve it with cilantro or parsley. Like I said, I really love this curry and over the years I've strayed from the original recipe to suit my own taste. Everyone I've served this to, loves it.
                        You could if you wish to add fruit, coconut, pineapple or mango, maybe golden raisins...
                        Again I apologize for the late response!

                    2. Check out this site for tons of recipes and advice on UK Indian.

                      You may be able to find what you're looking for there. There's a recipe for Chicken Kashmiri which looks like maybe what you are looking for, with fresh cream and fruit. Also a recipe for Chicken Masala Cocktail which uses (no kidding) a tin of fruit cocktail.

                      These are all restaurant recipes.
                      Let me know if you need me to paraphrase them here, and I will. The site is a GREAT place though for cooking UK Indian food at home.

                      1. It sounds to me like chicken tikka masala, which is a British Indian dish.


                        1. I came to this board tonight wondering if there were any posts on English-style curry, and came across your's. My mom used to make "curry" for us as kids (in the 1970s), and her version was basically a chicken stew seasoned with curry, and served over rice with condiments such as golden raisens, chopped apple, minced onion, diced hard-cooked eggs, Major Gray's chutney, and crumbled bacon. We loved it as kids, and I still make it every once in a while for nostalgia's sake (and also because it's pretty darn tasty). Certainly not authentic, but I don't mind.

                          I usually start with a leftover roast chicken. Stew the chicken in water/broth, and when chicken is tender/falling off bone, remove the chicken and strain the broth back into the pot., Pick out the meat from the bones and set aside. To the broth, add onion and/or garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes and/or cauliflower. Once veggies are cooked, make a roux and thicken the stew. Return chicken to the pot, and add curry powder to taste (make sure you leave time for the curry to mellow/blend it. Best made the day before). Serve over white rice, and provide a variety of sweet, tart, savory and salty toppings, as noted above.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: DanaB

                            That's pretty much the Seventies British curry that my Mum used to make as well, although her's wasn't as complicated and she always put raisins in it. I hated it and refused to eat curry until I was 18, when I discovered real curry, in France of all places!

                          2. A restaurant style creamy chicken curry:

                            brown boneless thigh and breast chunks and set aside

                            add 1 finely chopped onion, plus 1 tbs garlic and 1 tbs ginger paste to oil in pot and saute until the onion is clear. Take this and throw it in a blender a long with 2-3 tomatoes, and puree this. Add it back into a hot pot and cook until the oil rises up to the top of the paste. There should be no need to add more oil because it is still in the sauce from the initial sautee. Add in 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, and 1/2 to 1 full tsp red chile powder, and salt to taste. Instead of all of those spices you can add in 1.5 - 2 tbs of a curry powder that you like.Cook for a few more minutes. Add in the browned chicken and allow to cook through. Turn off the flame. Add in 1 tbs cream. You can also add in 1 tbs of cashew paste if you like. You make this by soaking 10 cashews in enough warm water to cover them for a few minutes, then pureeing this to get a paste. You can add both cream and cashew paste. Both are thickeners, the cashew paste adding extra richness. Turn heat on low and keep for 5 minutes. You can add in pineapple chunks and raisins during the last 5 mins of cooking as well for the effect you are after.

                            You have your resto style curry.

                            1. The OP asked for a British pub-style curry so let's be honest here and say that this is the last thing that anyone really wants to eat. Pubs that serve curry are unlikely to have made any attempt to make it themselves. They'll have bought-in frozen microwaveable portions from the catering wholesaler (someone like Brakes Brothers- who also sell the "delicious" pre-browned microwaveable burgers for the pub trade). I suspect that if the OP had a pub curry that tasted fruity this was probably some time ago as tastes have changed and this style is no longer popular (it was only popular before "indian" food became popular - if you see what I mean)

                              Get yourself a good recipe for chicken tikka masala or, even better, murgh makhani and really enjoy your meal.

                              1. Miller’s British Pub Night Chicken Curry
                                Split broiler half chicken (bone in/skin on)
                                Kosher salt
                                Olive oil
                                3-6 teaspoons of Ship Brand Madras Curry Powder
                                1 cup chopped carrot
                                1 cup chopped celery
                                1 cup chopped onion
                                2 cloves Garlic
                                1 russet potato peeled and diced
                                3 tablespoons flour
                                3 cups chicken stock or broth (low sodium)
                                1 tablespoon HP sauce
                                2 cups basmati rice
                                Major Greys Chutney
                                Peas & Carrots
                                Preheat oven to 350F. In a large heavy cast iron skillet, pour about 2 teaspoons of olive oil, add carrots, onions, celery and mix well. Place the half chicken on top of the vegetable mixture. Pour a little more olive oil on the chicken and sprinkle well with kosher salt. Roast in oven for 2 to 2-1/2 hours, adding 2 tablespoons of water (to keep from burning veg) and turning chicken over and mixing vegetables every half hour until chicken is well roasted.
                                Just after putting the chicken in the oven, cook the potatoes and garlic in a heavy sauce pan with 3 cups of chicken broth over medium simmer.
                                Next cook the rice: 2 cups basmati in 3 cups of water in heavy sauce pan with lid. Bring to boil, stir well, cover, remove from heat and let cook at rest until needed.
                                When chicken is roasted, remove to plate to cool. Add 3 tablespoons of flour to the skillet/veg mixture, mix well and return to oven to roast for 15 minutes. Return rice to very low heat. Spoon the roasted veg mixture from the skillet into the cooked potatoes. Pour some cold chicken stock into the skillet to clean the bits from the skillet. Then add the bits to the cooked potatoes. Next puree the potato/veg mixture using a stick blender or a traditional blender. Pour that sauce back into the sauce pan and simmer on med/low. Pull and separate all of the meat from the chicken bones, adding the chicken to the smooth sauce as you go. Discard bones and skin. Add about a tablespoon of HP Sauce to the sauce/chicken. Finally add curry powder to taste: 3-6 teaspoons. Salt to taste and simmer for about 10 minutes stirring well.
                                Serve the curry over rice on a plate with peas & carrots and Major Greys Chutney on the side. Pairs well with Boddingtons Pub Ale.

                                1. Sorry for a reply well past its useful date. However, if the OP or anyone should find it relevant:


                                  Turkey Curry Recipe [Fruity] : Marco Pierre White. Knorr Recipes.

                                  Bolst Curry powder was often used in Indo-Anglian and Anglo-Indian recipes as the curry powder of choice.

                                  McCormick is yet another with a distinctive American touch, probably due to the use of celery seed. I find it pleasant owing to my long exposure to its particular style and use in US-style creamy lamb curries.

                                  Many Indian Madras style curry powders created in the UK, including those developed for the Bangladesh curry houses, are meant to be cooked into bases under specific circumstances. I am not sure I like all of them, and especially am not happy with PATAK's, and with certain pre-cooked bases like PARAMPARA from India that earn raves from many. People have tastes that are unique to themselves, their ethnic backgrounds and their childhood memories!

                                  Vietnamese, Thai and Jamaican curry powders each have their special flavors and are well worth the trial. So is the Japanese SB brand found in red and yellow tins, and the Korean Dottori brand. The various Japanese kare cubes are interesting, Vermont being the most common, but several others should not be ignored. Using both the Japanese SB curry powder and a bit of kare cube is also feasible, although one should never add the crumbled cubes to boiling material but allow it to come off the boil, add the cube, and then bring back to simmer. A tiny dab of tomato ketchup awakens flavors, along with cream or creme fraiche.