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Malaysian Chicken Curry

Chicken curry ranks right up there when you’re talking about popular Malaysian cuisine. In almost every potluck or party, chicken curry, with or without potatoes, will be there. It’s a time-consuming dish to make if you’re making it from scratch. There are spices to pound or grind before cooking them till the spices turn into a fragrant paste. The paste is the all-important base of the curry. Needless to say, I’ve never attempted to make it from scratch. Nowadays, we have the convenience of packaged curry paste. However, Malaysian curry paste wasn’t available in supermarkets here till a few years ago. I’m very glad T & T brings in Tean’s Chicken Curry Paste. It’s delicious and authentic, no more missing chicken curry from home! I add in lemon grass and curry leaves for extra flavour.

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Malaysian Chicken Curry with Potatoes

1.5 kg chicken meat, cut into bite-sized pieces (bone-in, skinless pieces)
3 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons kosher salt**
1 packet curry chicken paste (200g)
2 medium potatoes, cut into big chunks
1 red onion, cut into thick wedges
2 stalks lemon grass, bruised
A few sprigs of curry leaves
500ml water
200 – 300ml coconut milk, use more or less depending on how creamy you like your curry (I used Aroy-D canned coconut milk)

1. Marinade the chicken with the curry powder and salt for at least an hour.

2. Heat some oil in a Dutch oven or a wok and stir-fry the curry paste and potatoes for 5 minutes.

3. Add in the marinated chicken and cook till the chicken is cooked on the outside. This is to seal in the chicken juices.

 

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4.Add in the onions, lemon grass, curry leaves and water. The water should just cover the chicken and potatoes.

5. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender.

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6. Add in the coconut milk and simmer for another 10 minutes. The coconut milk is added only at the end as the flavour of the coconut milk will be cooked away if added too early. Taste and season with salt if necessary.

7. Serve with white rice or roti paratha (flat bread).

** The salt can be omitted if you want to reduce the salt content in this dish.

 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on March 27, 2011 in Cooking, Food

 

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French Fridays with Dorie: Chicken B’stilla

Around My French Table, Dorie Greenspan’s French Cooking book, has shown me that the French takes food from other cultures and makes them their own too. So far we had made Vietnamese noodle soup, gnocchi French-style, and now B’stilla (or Pastilla), a Moroccan pie.

Chicken B’stilla is like a chicken pie but instead of using pie pastry to cover the filling, we use flaky phyllo pastry. The chicken filling is spiced, sweet and savoury. In this version, the chicken is marinated in onions, garlic, ground ginger, ground coriander, ground cinnamon and saffron before simmering in chicken broth till it’s tender. A thick sauce is made with the strained broth and eggs, flavoured with lemon and honey. The chicken is then shredded and mixed with the sauce. I let my chicken filling sit overnight in the refrigerator because I didn’t have enough time to complete the dish that day. I wanted lots of time to work with the phyllo pastry as I’ve heard how tricky it can get and it’s also my first time with it!

I bought Irresistibles phyllo pastry, which comes in long, rectangular sheets, thawed them in the refrigerator for more than 24 hours and trimmed them to the 9 x 14 inches required for this recipe. I wanted to skimp on the parchment paper so I didn’t separate the phyllo pastry but left them stacked as they are. They separate and lifted off easily after brushing with butter and only tore because I brushed too hard. Laying 4 sheets down on the pan and folding them over the filling was manageable but I couldn’t tucked the top sheets in neatly. They ended up pressed down but with the ends sticking up. I baked the b’stilla as directed and the pastry turned golden brown but cracked all over! Could anyone tell me why that happened? Turning the b’stilla out onto the cutting board before inverting it made it a little worse.

Putting the cracked pastry aside, the dish was a hit! I love the sweet and savoury filling as did my husband. Our children liked it too but they both seem to love the thin, flaky pastry more! I served it for dinner with a last-minute put together side of frozen peas and corn cooked with onion, chicken broth and a little cream. I will make this again seeing I have half a box of phyllo pastry leftover and the filling is delicious. Hope the pastry will turn out better next time. The only thing I don’t like about making this is the lingering sweet smell of simmered onions, cinnamon and saffron. By the second day I had to open the windows even though it’s below freezing outside to air the house!

Click here to look at the b’stilla other French Fridays with Dorie members made.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2011 in Cooking, Food, French Fridays with Dorie

 

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First accomplishment of the year: Carving a chicken

I did it! I carved a whole chicken!! A small deal to many perhaps but an accomplishment to me nonetheless! Even though I occasionally buy rotisserie chicken and roasted a few myself, I never got the hang of carving a chicken. I would carve one with the faint idea of how to do in my head but would end up butchering it. There would be chunks and scraps of meat on the platter instead of neat identifiable pieces of chicken.

Well, today I roasted a chicken for dinner again. It turned out beautifully. I was determined not to ruin it with shabby carving. So what do I do? I turned to the Incredible Internet, specifically, YouTube. The video that caught my eye had a screen shot of a hand on a piece of chicken. That was more realistic to me than one that had a shot of a carving tong in the chicken. I tried holding on to the chicken with a tong or fork before when carving it and it didn’t work. Anyway, back to the video, it is by Howcast and it has Marc Murphy, a restaurant owner, showing you how to carve a roasted chicken. It may not be the best video on the subject out there but it did helped me and for that, I’m grateful.

Here’s the video I watched:

And here’s a picture of my carved chicken pieces or what’s left of them because Mummy has to give food to her hungry children before Mummy can play with the camera. :)

 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 4, 2011 in Cooking, Food, Life

 

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French Fridays with Dorie: Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux

I’m posting this for this week’s French Fridays with Dorie. (We decide the order of the recipes on our own this month.) It’s roast chicken for lazy people, according to Dorie’s introduction to the recipe. You just season the chicken, stuff its cavity with herbs and garlic, put it in a Dutch oven, strew more herbs and garlic around and put the pot in the oven and let it roast till it’s done. If you’re not that lazy, you can take the pot out halfway and add in some vegetables. The twist to this recipe is to put a thick slice of bread (I used 3 pieces of baguette) on the bottom of the pot and lay the chicken on top of it. It elevates the chicken for better heat circulation, just like laying a layer of vegetables at the bottom of the roasting pan would. However, with the bread trick, you get a tasty piece of bread that’s crispy on one side and soggy on the other, and soaked with chicken juice that’s just perfect as a cook’s treat. 

This simple dish, however, did not turn out perfectly for me. When the chicken was cooked and the skin on top was golden and crispy, I discovered the cavity of the chicken was filled with pink juices. I flipped the chicken over and could see that the underside wasn’t fully cooked yet. I had to cook the chicken longer and ended up with half the chicken overcooked. The crispy skin also got softened because I had turned the chicken over to cook the second time. I also tore the skin and almost broke off a leg when turning the chicken! Taste wise, I didn’t get a lot of flavour from the chicken, I enjoyed the vegetables that I added in more. Hmm, looks like the bread turned out the best in this dish!

Will I make this particular chicken again? Most likely not but I am likely to employ the two tips I learnt from this recipe the next time I roast a chicken – the bread trick and roasting in a Dutch oven. The high sides of the pot kept the oven clean from oil splatters although the pot did get pretty stained but nothing a paste made from baking soda couldn’t handle.

Hop over to French Fridays with Dorie and click on LYL: November 12 to check out the other recipes for this month.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on November 11, 2010 in Cooking, Food, French Fridays with Dorie

 

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Chinese Honey Chicken

Woo hoo! I managed to recreate this restaurant favourite dish of mine and it doesn’t require deep frying! Honey chicken (mut chup gei) is savoury and sweet, my favourite combination. The dish is typically cooked this way – first marinating the chicken in the usual suspects, deep-frying the chicken, cooking the sauce and tossing the chicken in the sauce. I didn’t want to do any frying at home so I used the braising method, that RC taught me, to cook the chicken instead. Here’s my version of the dish:

Honey Chicken

Half a chicken, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine
1 heaped teaspoon corn starch
Dashes of salt and pepper
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 heaped tablespoon crushed roasted sesame seeds or 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds

Sauce:
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce (to add colour)

1. Marinade the chicken with the first six ingredients and leave for half an hour.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. Stir-fry garlic for 30 seconds. Put in the chicken (watch for splatters) and quickly stir-fry the chicken till the outer parts are cooked. Pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and let the chicken simmer for 15 minutes or until fully cooked. Dish out and set aside.

3. Pour the sauce into the pan. There may be a little liquid leftover from the chicken. Stir and let the sauce boils till it thickens. Put the chicken back into the pan and toss to coat. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over and give the chicken a quick stir. Dish up and serve.

 

 
4 Comments

Posted by on October 26, 2010 in Cooking, Food

 

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