Green Apple Curry

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.

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Green Apple Curry Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

Just a standard yellow curry powder mix will do here. Use your favorite.

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

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.

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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.

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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.

35 Comments

  1. Becki's Whole Life

    My grandmother made a curried fruit dish at Christmas last year and it was so delicious. I loved the warm spices in the dish paired with the sweet fruit flavors – oh yes and some butter too. This sounds like a great way to shake things up with apples.

  2. rohini

    I grew up eating roti everyday as a part of our Gujarati dinner. It consists of wheat flour, a pinch of salt and enough water to make it a slightly-sticky dough. You then add a bit of oil to make it nice and smooth (and shiny). Break off a bit, roll it into a ball between your hands, roll it in white flour (to get rid of some of the stickyness). Using a rolling pin of sorts, flatten the ball and enlarge it into a thin round roti. You may have to dust it with more flour to prevent it from sticking to your rolling pin. The trick to cooking it properly is having the right thin-ness (and not too thick) because it has to “poof” ontop of your gas stove. First cook both sides of the roti on a pan on the stove and then put the roti over an open flame and watch it “poof.” Don’t leave it on for too much longer because then it will pop and start burning.

    Thats about as good of an explanation as I can give in words.

    I found a decent youtube video showing the whole process (though she doesn’t do the open flame step, but poofing is still involved): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jD4o_Lmy6bU

  3. Ingrid

    I’m Trini and it’s actully called roti skin NOT roti bread. have a recipe in a Trini cook book, but not at home to post right now.

    Okay, thanks Ingrid! I’ll make the adjustment. ~Elise

  4. sharon

    Roti is one of those breads that even if you are a gastronomical dunce in the kitchen (or at baking) you can probably still manage to make a halfway decent roti that still tastes amazing hot off the stove (spread with a little butter when still hot if you are naughty like me haha!). I didn’t grow up making or eating rotis, nor am expert at roti, but even I can still bash one out for a curry when I make one XD. I would suggest to everyone to just give it a try for sure. Even if all you are gonna do is dip it in your tea for breakfast (sans curry that is!).

  5. Greene Treats

    There’s good logic to why potatoes are known as pomme de terre (apples of the earth). Recipes like this show that they are interchangeable! This would make a great soup too!

  6. Katherine

    This is so exciting! I’ve been missing Trini food for the past two years, and my attempts to make doubles have been less than entirely successful. I have found a recipe for the really thin roti (not the kind with ground chick peas inside, but the “buss up” roti) here: http://www.swapnascuisine.com/2011/06/rumali-roti-roomali-roti-step-by-step.html

    I don’t know if that’s the style you were looking for, but they were my favorite – much less messy to tear up and eat with!

  7. dogtrot

    what the heck? i just made an apple/curry dish. mine was chinese broccoli and apples in a curried peanut sauce. garilc, onion, lime and fresh ginger rounded out the flavors; no sugar added this time. :)
    this looks good too!

  8. dianne

    i love the recipe and reminds me of chutney.Add shrimp & chopped(about quarter size pieces) potato,skip the apples and half the sugar and two bay leaves. i don’t measure because quantity depends on how many peeps are coming to eat.curry is a personal taste. my family fell in love with curry mix from capetown,sa; a 24hr+ flight! go figure

  9. Rita

    This looks delish. I just got some Granny Smiths from the orchard the other day. I’m going to make this soon!

  10. Sheila @Eat2gather

    I love that you took a simple approach to this dish and didn’t feel the urge to try and spruce it up. I love curry, as does my family. I hope to give this one try real soon. would you serve this as a side dish or a main course…or do you think it could even be served as a starter?

  11. lck

    One part of the recipe I don’t understand: *discard* the garlic? that is a new one to me. If leaving it all in would be overpowering, why not use less? Can you explain?

    You only want the garlic to flavor the oil a little in this version of the recipe. Obviously you don’t need to discard the garlic, you can save the pieces and eat them as a snack. Or if you want, just keep them in the curry, if you want more garlic flavor in your curry. ~Elise

  12. Molly

    Thank you! The Trini restaurant in town has weird hours and I’ve been craving it. I have almost everything to make this at home!

  13. Tanu

    Indian bread has got lots of variety of which most widely used in daily cooking is Indian Roti or Chapati its the same.

    INDIAN CHAPATI RECIPE
    Ingredients:

    2 cups Wheat Flour (Gehun Ka Atta)
    Water as per requirement

    How to make chapati:
    • Knead soft dough with above ingredients.
    • Leave it for atleast 30 minutes.
    • Break off to a table tennis – ball sized (even smaller) bit of dough.
    • Roll with help of dry flour to a thin round.
    • Roll as thin as possible.
    • Heat tawa and place phulka on it.
    • When dry on one side, turn it.
    • When brown spots appear on second side, turn again.
    • Use a kitchen towel and lightly press the phulka, rotating at same time, it will puff.
    • Make as crisp as desired.
    • Serve hot.

  14. Matthew Hyner

    Mmm…sounds good. Had a wonderfull time in Tobago just a hop skip and a jump from Trinidad and did enjoy some Roti as well…although I couldn’t bring myself to eat the ‘Cow Heal Soup’.

    Would you mind asking Trini, in Speyside all of the resteraunts served a shrimp dish with some sort of chili sauce but I couldn’t get any to give up the recipe. I’ve searched online for a few years finding some recipes for shrimp with chili sauce but none that lived up. With having it 5 times in 3 places at least while I was there I’m hoping maybe he knows someone who can at least tell me what it was called to find the recipe if he doesn’t know what it is at all? :)

  15. Ying & Yang

    The curry looks delicious! and love the integration of fruit in meals. We’ve tried mango curry before but haven’t had apple curry yet~ this recipe will give us the perfect chance to try it.

    Thank you for sharing.

  16. Catherine

    Looks so great. I frequent a Guyanese restaurant near me. Their food is similar to Trini food. The owner makes rotis with the addition of cumin seed for her doubles – which is chickpea curry sandwiched between the small round rotis, and topped with her homemade tamarind sauce. I am completely addicted to them. She also makes larger rotis which you can have stuffed with the various curries she makes, which include saltfish and potato, another one of my faves.

  17. Espahan

    My English mother-in-law made chicken curry with apples. This looks very similar. I can’t wait to try it, and the roti skin.

  18. Susan

    Our local papaer printed a recipe for a curried apple chicken saute last week. It had apples and onions with curry, cinnamon and smoked paprika. Absolutely delicious. Interesting how similar ingredients seem to pop up at the same time in different places. I never would have thought to put curry and apples together before a week ago!

  19. Daniel

    I was excited to try this recipe, but neither my wife nor I ended up liking it. We eat curries often, but we usually go for a sweeter apple than granny smiths. Perhaps we are just not used to the sour taste. Luckily we had plenty of rotis to nibble on!

  20. Kelley

    I made this last night, and it’s definitely a keeper recipe! It was very simple to make and my family gobbled it up. I left the garlic in and it tasted great to me.

  21. Kay

    Wow, never thought of doing a fruit curry before but could be worth giving a shot. I see someone mentioned Granny Smiths being too tart–any recs for substitute apple?
    Also, regarding the curry powder–not all curries are the same. I’d recommend (if you have access) the Madras-style curry (common in Trini & Guyanese cooking) or even the Blue Mountain brand for a more authentic Caribbean taste. I’ve tried using Indian curry powder in a pinch (not that many Caribbean stores in Cali’s Bay Area) and it works in a pinch but it’s really not the same.
    Thanks for featuring Caribbean cuisine!

  22. Taryn

    We left it “bare bones” as Elise calls it, for the most part, adding just a pinch of smoked paprika at the end. The tartness of the Granny Smith really set this one apart for me. My husband devoured his too but remarked that he would have enjoyed it more with a protein, like some thinly sliced pork or chicken, but he says that frequently when we go veg. :) Thanks, Elise!

    Hi Taryn, I think of this curry as a side, not something that would replace a protein dish. Almost like a condiment curry. ~Elise

  23. Taryn

    Ooo, and if you’re going store-bought on the roti, we really enjoyed this paired with Kawan wheat meal chapati, which we pick up from a local Indian store. Not homemade (nor do I know how it compares to Trini roti), but a pretty good stand-in for scooping up curry!

I apologize for the inconvenience, but comments are closed. You can share your thoughts on our Facebook page ~ Elise.