Wednesday, September 17, 2008

MOM'S CHICKEN CURRY


As I've said before, my mom never taught me how to cook before I could cook. My curry was learnt from an Ang-Moh on the top of Sydney Fish Market; and it was Thai curry. Later, I learnt that the ingredients are not much different from Nonya's curry. That's why Thai Red Curry Paste was the very first recipe I posted on this blog. To me it has a lot of significance in that it's a derivative recipe, in the sense that it's the mother of all curry recipes (discounting Indian ones).

Home-made curry like so many recipes is one of those things we take for granted; we never bother to learn it when we know it will be on our table or can be found at various stalls in town; only when we're abroad or away from home for a long spell that we wish that we have learnt how mom does it. So one day I ask mom to show how she does her curry, from start to finish.




INGREDIENTS

15 Shallots

5 Cloves Garlic

10 gm. Galangal

3 Candlenuts

2 Lemongrass

10 Large Red Chillies

6 Dried Chilles

10 gm. Turmeric

3 Tbsp. Curry Powder

Milk From 1 Coconut

1 Sprig Curry Leaves

6 Potatoes

3 Chicken Tights
(Chopped)




The amount of each ingredients may vary each time you cook; it doesn't really matter as long as all the ingredients are there. Just understand what some of the ingredients does to the dish. Tumeric gives it a yellow-amber color; red chillies, the red hue; the dried chillies for the heat; lemongrass, the citrus flavor; and candlenut, the thickener. Vary the amount of any of the ingredients to suit your palate.

My mom has her dried chilli paste and turmeric paste grind and packed as thin patty in plastic bags, and stored in the freezer to be use at a moment's notice. Simply snap off the amount required, and it defroze momentarily.

For coconut milk see here. The amount used is about ½ pint of 2nd. pressing (light) and
½ pint of 1st. pressing (thick). If you require a bit more to cover the chicken, go for 3rd. pressing. One can use milk in lieu of coconut, of course, but you loose the fragrance.


METHOD


Pound or grind all the first 8 ingredients into a paste.

Add 4 tbsp. oil onto the wok, and fry the turmeric on medium heat.
(Omit this step if your turmeric is blended together with the rest of the paste.)

Next put in the curry paste. Press down and toss around to prevent burning. Add more oil if necessary.

When the color of the paste change to amber and a bit on the dry side, put in the chicken parts to coat well.

Spoon in the curry powder, bit by bit as you turn the chicken, so all bits get its fair shake. I rub my chicken with curry powder before being fried, with addition powder added when frying. The amount added is to one's taste, and also dependent on the curry powder used.

Splash a ladle of first pressing coconut milk over the chicken to moisten them.

Add the curry leaves, then toss around to mix well. You have to get the zest of the curry paste to sink into the chicken; my mom calls it "a-jeet-bak" (penetrates the meat).

When the wok gets a bit dry, add a dash of 2nd. pressing coconut milk. At this stage the chicken is still at a 'dry' state. The idea is to have a nicely colored spiced chicken that has absorbed the curry paste. Repeat adding the coconut milk a few times if necessary until the chicken is cooked on the outside.

When the chicken is 'done' on the outside, scoop them out onto a pot.

Pour in about half a cup of 2nd. coconut milk into the wok to deglaze, then pour into the chicken pot.

Pour in the rest of the 2nd. coconut milk to cover the chicken. Put over medium heat to boil, and then simmer for about 10 minutes.

In the meantime, peel and dice the potatoes.

Shallow fry the potatoes until crisp and a bit brown on the outside. Once done, remove and set aside.

When it done with the initial simmer, add in the potatoes. Submerge them into the curry sauce. Simmer for another 20 minutes.

Finally pour in all the 1st. press coconut milk and mix well.

When the sauce comes to boil, add salt or fish sauce to taste. Ready to serve.

*The top 2 photos was my creation. I only had one big fresh chilli, and I used about 10 dried ones to make up for color for a 2 chicken tights curry. Notice any difference?

3 comments:

twosuperheroes said...

oh my...very nice colour to your curry! Must be really delicious... *drooling* Makes me feel like cooking chicken curry this moment! Haha. :p

Kong-Kay said...

yup, tastes good with bread... that's what we had the day after for lunch. so what're the twosuperheroes up to lately?

Anonymous said...

can it be curry without the step of fried the chicken but juz totally used boiled chicken?i do try but the coloured is far different lol...taste ok lol..

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