Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chicken Curry

I cooked this dish last Sunday.  My wife invited her mom and her sisters over for dinner.  As always, I will have to rake my head thinking of what to dish out. always, I will spend hours and hours thinking and surfing the net searching for ideas and after what seems like ages I finally come out with NOTHING!  No choice, my wife will have to come to my rescue and give her suggestion and I will always be like "Oh! Why didn't I think of that?" Useless bugger!!

So, this time round - chicken curry.  Well, this is my second attempt cooking a chicken curry after my disastrous shot on my kids' birthday gathering, exactly a year back.  I could still recall one of my guests asked, "who cooked this curry? Taste funny la..!"  &%$#@#$#

Well, I am proud to say that I have somehow succeeded this time round after I surprisingly received a thumbs up from my brother-in-law for the dish.  However, to say that this is the best curry I have ever tasted is perhaps an overstatement and a far cry. 

Of course, there are many variations of curries ie the Chinese, the Malay, the Nyonya or the Indian style.  Which does this version fall into?  I have no idea.  But why bother?  Nobody is going to say "I like the Indian/the Chinese curry I ate yesterday!"  If the curry is good, they will always say, "OMG, I love Kuan Yoon's curry yesterday!" So, who cares which curry you adopt?  Just adapt, add, mix and match.  Make it your own and that's exactly what I did on this dish!  There are scores of recipes on the net that will leave you spoilt for choices.  I simply did not know which to choose from.  All seemed so good.  So, the easy way out was I dug out the kiasu itch in me and used everything that caught my eyes.  I know that this may not work all the time but for this time round, it did!
Anyway, I adapted the recipe from Choesf from Happyhomemaker88 here, with quite a bit of modification.  Apparently, it was her mother-in-law's recipe.  It's nice to see recipes being passed down to our loved ones.  Although we may not be around, at least our food continues to provide comfort to the family.  I am now wondering what my future daughter-in-law will say about me once I am gone.  Will she say:

"Thank God, luckily I managed to learn from that senile old man how to cook 
his chicken curry before he kicked the bucket!"

The Ingredients:
3 whole chicken legs, cut up and marinate with 2 tbsps salt and 3 tbsps curry powder
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks deep fry in oil until half cooked *(I didn't deep fry)
2 large onions, peeled and cut into chunks
15 shallots, chopped

1 cinnamon stick*(I added this)
2 star anise*(I added this)
curry paste (pls see below for recipe)
2 cups coconut milk (mix 3/4 of the thick coconut milk with 2 cups of water, reserve the 1/4 left for later use)*(I only used 1 1/2 cup)

1 bunch curry leaves*(I used 5 sprigs)
2 stalks of lemon grass/serai – smashed a bit to release its aromatic oils
2 pcs tamarind slice/asam keping*(I added this to give the curry a little sourish tang)

Curry paste
5 tbsps curry powder, 
5 candlenuts/buah keras, 
5 cloves garlic, 
1 inch knob of fresh ginger, 
3 fresh red chilies 
(all blended) 

Method -
1) In a hot wok, heat up 1/2 cup (125 ml)  of oil and fry shallots, star anise & cinnamon stick 
    until golden and aromatic.

2) Add in the curry paste and keep stirring to prevent burning until the oil separates from 
    the paste and it is very aromatic, about 5 minutes or so. This gives the curry a rich, 
    bright orange colour when it is cooked.

3) Add in the marinated chicken pieces and stir fry until it is half cooked – this is to 
    seal in the chicken juices and make the chicken fragrant and tasty

4) Next, add in the half-cooked potatoes, large onions, lemon grass, tamarind slices 
    and curry leaves.

5) Give them a good stir for about 2 minutes.

6) Pour in the diluted 3 and 3/4 cups of coconut milk. My rule of thumb for this is 
    to make sure that the coconut milk is enough to just cover the chicken and potatoes.

7) Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat to medium to simmer the curry for about 
    25 to 30 minutes, until the chicken is tender, the potatoes soft. 
    Remember to stir the curry often to prevent burning. Add a little more water if 
    the curry appears to be drying up.

8 ) When the curry is ready, season with salt and pour in the last 1/4 cup of 
     thick coconut milk. The coconut milk loses most of its aroma when boiled for a while,
     and by adding a bit of thick coconut milk at the last minute gives the curry a 
     richer, aromatic taste.  

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kuan Yoon, your curry chicken certainly look delicious. I can polish the gravy itself, definitely nice to eat with bread. :)

    Have a great day.