Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Curry used to be synonymous with daily life when I was growing up. Almost anything could be turned into a curry. From canned pilchards to bananas and from jackfruit to baked beans. If it had an oil base, involved the use of Indian spices and was aromatic, the suffix "curry" was added to it! It's needless to say that the fragrant smell of curry would often waft through our house. Guests would often arrive being greeted by these aromas, a great way to whet your appetite.
This particular curry was inspired by a recent trip to my local Malaysian restaurant, "The Drunken Geisha" in Pyrmont, Sydney. (Yes, it's Malaysian not Japanese). Their chicken curry which was served with fresh roti canai was arguably the best I've ever eaten. There was a huge blend of spices evident in the curry. Aniseed, cinnamon and coconut were very apparent. I researched recipes online for Kari Ayam and found that there were various kinds of Malaysian chicken curry. My version uses the basic essential ingredients, lemongrass, a lot less oil and some coconut milk.
The result was a spicy and delicous curry. I would have loved to have eaten it with fresh roti canai but have opted for rice here instead as the easier option.
I have used numerous spices in this recipe, probably the most essential are cinnamon, aniseed and curry leaves. Try to use fresh curry leaves if you can, it does make a huge difference to using the dried version.
You will need:
1 Whole chicken, disjointed and cut into pieces
1 sprig Curry Leaves (use only the leaves)
1 Star anise
2 cardamon pods
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon crushed ginger
1 large onion, chopped.
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin
1 lemongrass (white part only)
Salt to season
2 Potatoes (peeled and cut into 8 pieces each)
200ml Thick coconut milk or add to your taste
Heat the oil in a large pot. Fry the cinnamon sticks, cardamon pods, cloves and star anise for a few minutes till fragrant. Add the chopped onion and fry at medium heat for a few minutes till golden. Add the turmeric powder, ground coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin, curry leaves and fry till fragrant. Add the garlic and ginger, then the chicken pieces and coat with the spices. Add the lemongrass and potatoes, some water to form a gravy and the coconut milk. Season with salt. Cover and cook on medium low heat for about 45 minutes till done.
Enjoy with roti or rice.