Years ago I visited the Caribbean island of Trinidad and was struck not only by the music of steel drums filling the air everywhere, but also by a street food called “roti”, which is sort of like an east Indian version of a burrito. A curry pocket of sorts.
I recently reconnected with a Trini friend, Asher, who with her husband Keith, brought me some wonderful homemade curries and roti for dinner. One of Keith’s favorites is curry apple, or a simple curry made with tart green Granny Smith apples, taking the place of tart green mangos, which is one of the most common and well loved curries for roti in Trinidad.
What I love about this simple curry is just that, it is so simple, nothing fancy. Granny Smiths tend to mush up as they cook, which actually creates the thickness of this curry. I followed a fairly bare bones approach here. You could easily dress this up with chopped cilantro, chile flakes or habanero, mustard seed, or other spices.
Traditionally this curry is served with Indian roti bread for which I do not yet have a recipe. If there are any Trinis out there reading this who have a favorite recipe for either the roti “skin” (the thin, tortilla-like bread) or other roti-friendly curries to share, please let us know about them in the comments.
Just a standard yellow curry powder mix will do here. Use your favorite.
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, smashed and roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 Tbsp yellow curry powder
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 4 tart green Granny Smith apples, cored and roughly chopped (peel ON)
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 Tbsp, packed, brown sugar
1 Heat the oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the garlic and let cook until the garlic starts to get browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove the garlic from the oil. Discard (or eat as a snack) the garlic.
2 Add the chopped onions to the pan and let cook until translucent (about 4 minutes).
3 While the onions are cooking, in a small bowl, mix together the curry powder and 2 tablespoons of water. Stir with a spoon until you have a smooth, thin paste. Once the onions are translucent, stir in the curry paste. Let bubble and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the butter.
4 Add the chopped apples and salt to the pan. Add 1 1/2 cups of water, or enough water to just almost cover the apples. Stir in the brown sugar.
5 Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Let cook, uncovered, on a low simmer for 30 minutes, until thickened and cooked through. Add more water if needed if the mixture starts to stick to the pan.
Traditionally served with soft roti bread. In place of roti you can serve it with a warmed flour tortilla, pita bread, or over rice.