We invited a few friends over for dinner the other night and I wanted to make a few curries. I made my fabulous Beef Rendang and a Burmese egg curry and I wanted a chicken dish of sort. I have made Gordon Ramsey’s Malaysian chicken curry before, but I was in a creative mood that day so I decided to work on a recipe of my own and this is what I came up with. I made it again and again since, and I would not change a thing to it. It surpassed my expectations and I am very proud of it. Because my favourite Malaysian restaurant, Chahaya Malaysia, adds carrots to their chicken curry, I felt I needed to add them too.
With lemongrass, star anise, ginger and kaffir lime leaves, everything I love about Malaysian food is in there. We had a wonderful meal. I hope you will enjoy.
For the spice paste
5 cloves garlic
1 inch fresh ginger
3 lemongrass stalks, outer leaves removed and chopped finely
5 dried hot peppers, with seeds (I use Japone pods)
1 heaping tablespoon cashew paste
a bit of water
For the curry
1/4 cup neutral oil, I use grape seed
1 three-inch cinnamon stick
3 star anise, whole
2 green cardamom pods, slightly crushed
3 or 4 kaffir lime leaves
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
2 tomatoes, finely diced
1 kg boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2.5 cm cubes
1 carrot, cut lengthwise then thinly cut crosswise in half rounds
400 ml light coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1. In a blender, soak the dried peppers in a bit of boiling water for about 10 minutes. During that time, peel and cut the other ingredients and add to the blender. Pulse on high-speed, adding a bit more water if needed, to get a very smooth paste.
2. In a dutch oven over medium heat, toss the cinnamon, star anise and cardamom until fragrant, about one minute. Add the spice paste and stir for a few minutes, until the oil comes to the surface.
3. Add the chicken and coat well with the spice paste.
4. Add the coconut milk, the ground spices, the kaffir lime leaves, the tomatoes, the carrot, the salt, the soy sauce and half a cup of water. Stir well and cook, partially covered, for 45 minutes, adding a bit more water if needed if it becomes too thick.
5. Taste for seasonings and serve over basmati rice and add a few drop of fresh lime juice just before serving.