Once you have mastered the BIR cooking technique, making curry becomes easy. You can even try your hand at some seriously exotic dishes that you won’t find on the takeaway menu. Such as? Well, a nice chicken Ceylon is a great place to start. This curry is one of the tastiest around, and with my BIR recipe below, you’ll be able to whip it up in about 15 minutes. Here’s everything you need to know.
What is Ceylon Curry?
Chicken Ceylon, or Cylon, if you prefer, has its roots firmly in Sri Lanka. In fact, that is exactly where it gets its name from, as Sri Lanka’s former name was Ceylon. The characterizing features of Ceylon dishes include hot spices, creamy coconut and an acidic element such as tamarind or lime juice.
The version you will make today is cooked in a BIR style, but it contains many elements that are a nod to the original.
Sri Lanka is an island off the South East coast of India. It is famed for producing huge amounts of fragrant spices, such as cinnamon, turmeric and methi, all of which you will find in this tasty dish!
Is Chicken Ceylon Hot? How Spicy is Ceylon
Now this one does come with a bit of a warning. Like most Sri Lankan food, Ceylon curry is a little on the fiery side. While it doesn’t contain fresh chilli, it has a substantial amount of hot chilli powder. As a result, it is pretty spicy.
If you aren’t a fan of blisteringly hot curries, don’t worry, you can reduce or remove the chilli powder to your taste and still get a very similar flavour profile.
What Should Chicken Ceylon Curry Look Like?
Chicken Ceylon should be a dark yellow to pale orange colour. Cylon curry has a diluted tomato base, giving it a slight red tinge. This, combined with the red chilli powder and orange colour of the BIR base gravy, gives it an orange hue.
We also add coconut flour and coconut cream. This makes the dish slightly paler.
Ceylon curry is a relatively saucy dish, perfect for pairing with nice soft naan bread.
What Does Ceylon Curry Taste Like?
Chicken Ceylon is packed with the perfect blend of heat and flavour. Here’s a good description of its flavour profile: -
- Hot – The dominant spice in chicken Ceylon is chilli powder. This gives the curry a very hot taste. It is certainly as hot as a Madras.
- Slightly Sweet – The chicken Ceylon recipe also contains coconut flour and coconut cream. This adds a subtle sweetness.
- A Little Tangy and Acidic – Chicken Ceylon contains tomato puree, which offers a slight tang and acidity. The dish is finished with a squeeze of lime juice and, as a result, has a mild and pleasing ‘tanginess’.
- Slightly Creamy – The inclusion of coconut cream (and a finishing touch of butter) gives chicken Ceylon a slightly creamy consistency. It isn’t as rich as butter chicken or korma but is creamier than curries like a Dopiaza.
- Fragrant – As you’d expect from a Sri Lankan curry, Ceylon is packed with aromatic herbs and spices. You have garlic and ginger, the savoury onion taste from the base gravy, and the addition of a cinnamon stick early in the cooking process means that it is really fragrant.
Chicken Ceylon | Final Thoughts
Creamy and sweet coconut, the acidic taste of lime and tomato, all undercut with fiery heat and juicy chunks of chicken? That sounds pretty much perfect! Chicken Ceylon is one of the tastiest curries you can try, so give it a go! If you are new to BIR cooking, be sure to check out my complete guide to getting started. You can also get kitted out for curry right here.