WHAT’S so good about a curry? It’s tasty, it’s gripping and usually takes no time because you buy it down the road. So while Chris is honing his culinary skills in other lands I thought I would share a winning recipe with you. I’m a stickler for simplicity and taste but sometimes that balance can get skewed. But not so with this little beauty of a chicken curry.
The secret in ensuring you get the taste, is in making your own curry paste. Bottled pastes can be good and they are oh so quick, but they still have the taste of that container they came in. This particular curry, with our homemade paste, gets better with time – so the trick is to make it one quiet night midweek and fridge or freeze it for that weekend later when you have little time and would usually go out to buy a curry.
Flying from Tamworth (NSW) to Tassie one day, for a spot of fly fishing with a group of old rugby mates, I came a cropper at the Tasmanian airport security. For those of you who have not travelled to Tassie and know it only for its position on the map, the airports have sniffer dogs to ensure foreign foods do not infect their near perfect island. Now, part of our fishing holiday (aside from a few quiet beers and hopefully tight lines) was cooking some stonker dishes for each other and I had made up my special chicken curry. However you can imagine my consternation when the other nine lads had retrieved their bags from the carousel yet mine (with the chicken curry neatly packed inside) was hemmed between two sniffer dogs.
“Any fruit, meat or seafood in your bag sir?” “Well, yes, just a tasty cooked curry,” I fessed up. “No problems with cooked items, sir, on your way.” Phew! And while that little episode made it quite a special dish, time and distance made it a real winner (although the beers & red probably helped too).
The trick with my chicken curry, and this is only if you are going to eat it sometime later, is to not fully cook the chicken (almost but not fully). When you reheat it in a pan at a later stage, this will finish the cooking process keeping the chicken succulent and moist (doesn’t work with microwaves — so if you are going to microwave it second time round, fully cook the chicken initially). Another tip I found from my Tassie experience was to leave the coconut milk out of the dish, only adding it when you reheat it. This works just as well as adding it first up, and makes storing a lot easier as it is less runny.
Margin’s ‘Tassie’ chicken curry with coconut milk
What you need:
- 750 gms boneless chicken thigh; cut into cubes
- 2 lemon grass stalks, cut into 3 and pound a little
- 6-8 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon of lime juice
- Salt to taste
- For the paste:
- 1 ½ inch galangal
- 4-6 fresh red chilli (seed & slice)
- 5 shallots (sliced)
- 1 inch ginger
- 6 macadamia nuts (or similar); soaked in warm water
- ½ inch of fresh turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon belacan (shrimp paste)
What to do:
- Blend all paste ingredients to a fine paste
- Heat a little vegetable oil in a wok and then stir fry the paste until aromatic & thin layer of oil rises to the top
- Add chicken and lime juice and continue stirring until almost cooked (cook right through if eating immediately). If storing in the fridge or freezer, place in a sealed container & fridge/freeze immediately to slow the cooking process
- Add the coconut milk and simmer for 20 minutes over low heat
- Add salt to taste and serve hot.
Serves four with some absorption cooked rice (made while the chicken is simmering) and a few condiments. Enjoy (and think of Tassie)!
Learn to make :