A Bite Inspired by… Chiayi City, Taiwan:
Everyone has an old family recipe that’s been passed down for generations. This Taiwanese-Style Chicken Curry is one of my favorites on my mom’s side. It’s extremely flavorful and tastes like it’s been cooking for hours, but it only takes about 30 minutes. It’s also gluten-free, nut-free, and dairy-free. From my family to yours, I hope this dish inspires you to revisit some of your old family favorites and create new ones!
You guys are in luck! I’m about to share one of my absolute, favorite recipes of all time with you. You know those recipes that have been handed down through your family for so long that they almost become a part of you? This recipe for Taiwanese-Style Chicken Curry is one of those dishes. And the recipe only gets better with time. I’ve had similar curries to this one in Taiwanese restaurants, but none of them quite compare to my family’s long-standing recipe.
My mom grew up in a small city in Taiwan called Chiayi. She lived in a tiny house with four sisters. Needless to say, my grandma was a busy woman caring for five girls, especially with my grandpa being away a lot for his job. Like a lot of mothers out there, one of the many ways she showed her love was through cooking. She taught all five of her girls to cook with recipes that were handed down to her by her mother.
It’s one of those family recipes that adapts slightly with each generation. For example, my mom added peas to the dish when she made it for me growing up because baby Alyssa loved peas. She also made the recipe gluten-free as she developed a gluten intolerance later in life (this recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free!) She accomplished this by replacing the flour with arrowroot starch and using gluten-free soy sauce. Pretty smart, huh? I imagine I’ll probably make some sort of minor change myself when I have kids, but the core of the recipe will always stay the same.
Sadly, my grandma passed away when I was in high school, so I don’t have any recent pictures with her. I did want to share this picture of me and my grandpa though. When I showed my college roommate this picture a few years back, her first response was: “your grandpa is cooler than you”. To which I responded, “OBVIOUSLY”. My grandpa is truly one of the coolest people I know. He’s led a really fascinating life, which I look forward to sharing more about in future posts. In the meantime… ❤️
Due to the fact that Chiayi is a small city, most people outside of Taiwan haven’t heard of it. It really is a beautiful place, but a picture is worth a thousand words, so I thought I would show you guys, rather than just describe it. Enjoy!
My family’s recipe for Taiwanese-Style Chicken Curry is extremel flavorful with an array of delicious, colorful spices like tumeric and curry powder. The chicken is tender and tastes like it’s been cooking in the sauce for hours, but it only takes about 30 minutes. That’s my great-grandma’s little secret! 😉 My mom and I cooked this recipe together in my Le Creuset Dutch oven. If you’ve been on my blog before you may have heard me mention my Le Creuset Dutch oven once or twice (or more…) It’s my absolute favorite piece of cookware (yes, I do pick favorites with my cookware) and it works super well with developing the flavors in this dish. You can cook this dish in any medium-sized pot, but if you have a Dutch oven, I highly recommend that you use it.
When you cook this Taiwanese-Style Chicken Curry for your family, I hope you think back on my grandma’s story and remember some food traditions that are important in your own family. Food really is one of the simplest ways we can show that we care for one another. Although my grandma’s gone, her legacy lives on through her recipes and I’m so happy to be able to share them with you all. I hope you enjoy and that it inspires you to keep your own food traditions alive (and to create new ones!)
- 1 lb chicken breast, cut in chunks
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1.5 cups chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons arrowroot starch
- 1 teaspoon gluten-free soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sake
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- Pinch of sugar
- Salt, to taste
- Hot, cooked rice, for serving
- Heat oil in a dutch oven (or regular pot) over medium-high heat. Add chicken in a single layer and allow to cook undisturbed for two minutes. Flip chicken over and cook for 2 more minutes on the other side until lightly brown on both sides.
- Add salt, sugar, turmeric, and curry powder. Stir well to coat the chicken.
- Add sake and allow to cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Add the onion and cook for 1 minute, stirring until fragrant.
- Add soy sauce and stir a few times to coat.
- Add the chicken broth. Bring to boil on high heat. As soon as it boils, reduce heat to low.
- Cover and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add carrots, onion powder, and garlic powder. Cover and allow to simmer for 5 minutes more.
- While the carrots cook, put 1 tablespoon of water and the arrowroot starch in a separate small bowl. Stir well until smooth.
- Add the arrowroot mixture to the pot, while stirring pot constantly with a wooden spoon.
- Add peas. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Open the pot and stir a few times.
- Serve hot with rice. Enjoy!