This Nonya dish is the main star on every Peranakan menu circuit. Hailed as the queen of Nonya dishes, the absence of Kari Ayam (Malay name) can pretty much ruin relatives moods or worst, starving first grandsons like myself who spin defiantly at the lazy susan until I get in trouble by my disapproving mother.
Granny Lucy used to pound everything by hand while in modern times I tend cheat and buy a basic chicken curry paste and later dynamo its flavours by pounding lemongrass, onions and kaffir lime leaves just to wake the senses of my ancestors!
- 1 medium quality free range chicken.
- 2 tablespoons of 'meat' curry powder for seasoning.
- 1 x 200g packet of store bought curry chicken paste (or create your own curry paste)
- 2 tablespoons of rice bran oil
- 1 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 cups of chicken stock
- 5 small potatoes peeled and par boiled in stock
- 2 cups of coconut milk
For the mortar and pestle or food processor (if creating your own curry paste):
- 3 stalks of lemongrass.
- 3 small onions
- 5 kaffir lime leaves
1. Wash and pat dry the chicken with a paper towel and cut them into about 8 pieces, place in a bowl and season with curry powder. Set aside for an hour in the fridge, covered.
2. Use a mortar and pestle (or food processor) to pound together the lemongrass, onions and kaffir lime leaves to create your curry paste. Note: To simplify, you can totally leave the mortar and pestle out of this recipe because the store bought curry paste would be enough. I do it because I love to personalised my cooking but adding freshly pounded ingredients so the dish tastes alive!
3. Choose quality cookware like my RACO SmartRelease 18cm/1.9L Covered Saucepan
4. Add oil and turn the heat to a high and the after two minutes lower the heat to a medium then add your pounded ingredients.
5. Once the smell has been awakened, add the curry paste and stir through for a minute.
6. Add the chicken pieces and stir lightly for about 5 minutes.
7. Add chicken stock and bring to boil then simmer for 20 mins, then everything else and stir through then simmer for half hour to forty five mins.
8. Serve with some rice and cucumber slices or even an boiled egg if you feel fancy, like a matriarch in your kitchen.
Tip: Store the rest in the fridge because 'next day curry' is as amazing as my granny's hugs.