Malaysia has a varied and distinctive cuisine but not a lot of people know much of the country's food is derived from the influence of Chinese immigrants during the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Kari Ayam - or simply chicken curry - is an absolutely delicious aromatic dish utilising cooking techniques and ingredients from across China and South East Asia and would be a most unusual addition to any dinner party!
For the curry paste: 4 garlic cloves, 2 cm ginger root, 4 shallots, 5 cashew nuts
For the spice mix: 5 curry leaves, 2 cloves, 2 pods cardamom, 2 cm cinnamon bark, 2 star anise
2 tbsp curry powder
4 chicken thighs, boned
300 mls coconut cream, 300 mls milk, 500 mls water
200g Broccoli or waxy potatoes
4 tbsp groundnut oil (or any unflavoured oil)
Begin by frying the spice mix in 1 tbsp oil until fragrant:
Grind the spices and oil until you have something resembling a black viscous liquid:
This is immensely aromatic!
To a frying pan add the curry paste and ground spices and cook for about 5 minutes on a medium to high heat. Make a roux with the curry powder and combine with the ingredients already in the pan:
Very important: keep frying until oil begins to seep out of the pastes and spices, this ensures that any rawness is avoided and makes the dish even more flavourful.
Now add the chicken thighs and 500 mls of water:
After around 15 minutes of simmering on a medium heat, add the coconut cream, milk and broccoli and cook on a low heat for a further 5 minutes or until the chicken has completely cooked through.
Serve with rice or roti canai et voila!
And how does it taste?
Amazing. Incredibly aromatic, and because the chicken has been cooked on the bone, really rich.
If you want to give this dish a bash, follow this recipe as closely as you can. Things to watch out for: don't use too many shallots in the curry paste because this will make the gravy too thick. And feel free to experiment with different kinds of nuts or maybe use galangal instead of ginger; there are many variations out there if you don't fancy my recipe.
Good luck and happy cooking!
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