Margarita's International Recipes


Colombo de poulet

Chicken Colombo


South Asian curries arrived in the islands of the Caribbean - or West Indies, as the locals call them - with the indentured servants and otherwise conscripted workers brought over by the English, French and Dutch to work in the islands’ sugar plantations. This particular curry was brought over to Guadeloupe and Martinique by Sri Lankans and is named after their country’s former capital.

Colombo curry powder is available commercially online and at some Caribbean markets but it’s easy to make on your own (recipe follows). Alternatively, you could substitute with Madras curry powder.

I followed this recipe quite faithfully and I was extremely happy with the results. The addition of banana, to give this curry a hint of sweetness, is pure genius. I forgot to add the pistachios, but I think it would have elevated the curry even more.

Chicken Colombo


  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 lbs chicken parts
  • 1/4 cup Colombo curry powder
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped chives
  • 1 tsp chopped Scotch Bonnet pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. black pepper
  • 2 firm bananas, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios (optional)


Heat oil and butter over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Add the chicken, sprinkle with the colombo powder, and brown on all sides.

Add the chicken broth, 1/2 cup coconut milk, lime juice, onion, garlic, parsley, thyme, chives, Scotch Bonnet pepper, salt and black pepper. Mix, bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes.

Turn off the heat and mix in the bananas and pistachios, if using. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Colombo Curry Powder

  • 2 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp ground mace
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix all spices together.

Adapted from a recipe at Recipe Island.

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