Chips and curry is one of Irish people's favorite comfort food
Chips and curry sauce is a favorite late-night snack in Ireland and England. When I say chips, I am referring to the Irish equivalent to steak fries accompanied by a sweet, spicy curry sauce.
This chip sauce is different from a regular Indian curry. It has fewer veggies and is slightly less hot and spicy, with a satisfying sweet flavor.
I received an e-mail from a reader a few weeks past. She requested I share my curry sauce recipe which I mentioned when I showed you how to make perfect Irish chips. She first tasted this unique combination on a trip to my homeland. A waiter suggested she try curry sauce with her fries and she loved it. She savored this treat many more times before returning to the US, where ever since she has been searching for a recipe to help revive her tasty memories of Ireland.
This may not be gourmet food, but in Ireland, chip shops make gallons of curry sauce to satisfy their hungry customers. I confess I never bothered making it from scratch when I lived in Ireland. There didn’t seem to be any point when it could be so easily found at the local chipper, or made by simply adding hot water to a dried, powdery concoction of who knows what. I am certain that’s how chip shops create their signature sauces too.
Once I moved to America I discovered curry sauce was not to be found. I needed to create my own homemade version to satisfy my curry cravings. So today, here is my recipe for chip shop curry sauce:
Curry Sauce Ingredients:
- 1 large onion (peeled and diced)
- 1 large apple (peeled and diced)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 1/4 cup golden raisings (optional)
Curry Sauce Method:
Next step is to prepare the spice blend for the sauce. In a small bowl or ramekin add the curry powder, turmeric, cumin, ground coriander seed, and cinnamon. I love the browns and tans of the spices in the bowl.
I use Sharwoods hot curry powder which I can buy in my local Meijers supermarket. If you prefer a lower spicy, heat level then use an American mild curry powder. The difference is significant.
Add the oil to a large skillet over medium to high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 4 minutes. Caramelized onions add a delicious sweetness to the sauce.
Next add the peeled and diced apple to the pan and sauté for another 2 minutes.
Toss in the minced garlic and ginger.
Next comes the aromatic spice blend.
Mix the spices and onions together as they cook for another minute.
Flour is my sauce thickener of choice. Cook it over medium heat for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan as you combine the mixture completely.
The flour can burn and stick to the bottom of the pan very easily. See how my pan is getting a little crusty looking. That’s because I stopped stirring to take a photo.
Now let’s get saucy. Gradually add the stock while you constantly stir the mixture to prevent lumps forming. Scrape the bottom of the pan as you mix everything together. Bring it to a boiling point, then reduce the heat so the sauce is just simmering.
Now comes my secret ingredient. I add a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, not a typical curry requirement. I just love the extra dimension it adds to the exotic flavors of this sauce.
A hint of sweetness is next. Add the tomato paste and two teaspoons of sugar. Season with salt and pepper and mix everything together. Simmer the sauce for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
Some cooks like to add a teaspoon of lemon juice at this point, but I prefer not to detract from the sweetness of my curry sauce. Feel free to try it if you want to add a little freshness at the end.
Decision time has now arrived. To blitz or not to blitz that is the question.
If you prefer a textured sauce with lumps of apple and caramelized onion then skip this step. In our house, there is no skipping a little spin in the blender. My husband likes onion flavor but detests their texture, so I always make a smooth curry sauce.
Before blending turn the heat off under the pan and allow the sauce to cool a little. This is a precautionary step just in case of blender accidents. Sticky, boiling curry sauce can easily burn. Believe me – I know. I’ve had a few blender explosions in my day. I now always hold the lid down with a dish towel when I switch the beast on.
When ready pour the sauce into the blender and blitz until smooth (1 to 2 minutes depending on how powerful your blender is).
Return the sauce to the pan and turn the heat back on. Time for another decision – to add raisins or not. I love the sweet surprise of golden raisins in this spicy sauce. If you decide to go with them, then just toss them in and stir them around.
Then you’re ready to serve your spicy sauce with perfectly golden chips or fries.
Just one more decision to make: Do you pour your sauce all over the top of your chips? Or do you prefer to dip your chips?
Big, big decisions!
* Mairead Geary came to America for one year 20 years ago. She now lives with her husband and children in Kentucky and is proud to be an American citizen. Read more on her blog here.
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Are you a fan of Irish chips and curry? Let us know in the comments!