West Indian Coconut Chicken Curry with Yellow Yam

As you may or may not know, I was a chef for a few too many years. I worked mostly in “ethnic” styled restaurants, so have quite a repertoire of interesting dishes I make.

Denise, my lovely wife of 17 years, was away on Vacation in Jamaica with some of her girl friends, and this got me feeling nostalgic for some of the food I would prepare at “The Bamboo Dining Lounge” in Toronto, where I was the chef during its last years. They had a mix of authentic Thai and Caribbean cuisine that kept loyal customers coming back time and time again.

One of my favorite dishes to make was the chicken curry with all those aromatic spices and coconut milk. We would make it in our giant woks with someone constantly stirring so as not to burn it.


  • 1 Fist sized Yellow Yam
  • 2 Onions
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 2 lbs. Chicken Thigh
  • 5 Cloves Garlic
  • 4 tbsp Coconut Oil (or lard/tallow/ghee)
  • 1 Can Coconut Milk
  • 1/2 Can Tomato Paste
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Aminos
  • 4 tsp Curry Powder
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Ginger Powder
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp Allspice
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Thyme
  • Cayenne Pepper to taste/heat


Dice up the onions and mince the garlic and saute in a heavy bottomed pot on med/high heat. Slice the chicken thighs into smallish pieces and add to the sauteing onions. Brown the chicken for a few minutes then add the spices. Cook for a few minutes and then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, coconut aminos,  fresh thyme and coconut milk. Stir everything until mixed completely, turn down the heat to med/low and simmer for one hour.

Take the yellow yam and pare it with a knife, cube it up and boil it until tender.

Tip: Yellow yam gets ‘gummy’ and will discolor quickly, so get into the water fast to stop the oxidization. You may have to change the boiling water once as it will get very thick (starchy).

Strain and rinse the yam and add them to the curry. Let it simmer for a few more minutes and it’s ready to eat.

3 thoughts on “West Indian Coconut Chicken Curry with Yellow Yam

  • April 5, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    I’m not familiary with yellow yam. What would another decent sub be…sweet potato?

    • April 5, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      You can sub peeled potato, taro, or the dark purple skinned white sweet potato (Jamaican or Puerto Rican).

      You could sub in regular sweet potato, but it gets way to soft and is a little ‘sweet’ for the flavor of the curry.

      You don’t really need to put any in at all, that’s just the way we did it at the restaurant. Add more onions if you leave out the yam and you’ll be good to go.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *