Malaysian curries do not rely on dried spices like cumin or coriander, but use more fragrant herbs and roots like lemongrass, galangal (blue ginger) and fresh tumeric. This Straits Nyonya curry comes from Penang, and uses kaffir lime leaves as well which give the curry a citrusy flavor and fragrant. The Nyonya cuisine is the original fusion cuisine. The cuisine dates back 500 years, when Chinese traders sailed to the Malay peninsula and married local Malay women. The resultant cuisine came from the marriage of these two cultures.
Chef’s tip: Jacob Farm’s carries organic kaffir leaves in those plastic blister boxes you can find at stores like Wholefoods and Safeway. Kaffir leaves freeze well. Just pop the remaining into the freezer and you will have a constant supply of this fragrant wonder.
6 red jalapeno chilies
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon roasted belacan*
3 stalks lemon grass
1 inch galangal
1 inch fresh tumeric / 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
5 candlenuts, optional
½ cup canola oil
1 small chicken, cut into 8 pieces (reserve backbones and wings for other use)
3 cups coconut milk (reserve 1/2 cup)
1 cup water or more if needed
1 Tablespoon kosher salt, to taste
5 pieces of kaffir lime leaves
4 medium Yukon potatoes, peeled
1. Parboil peeled potatoes. Set aside. Cut each potato into 2.
2. In a food processor, grind all spice paste ingredients into a smooth paste
3. In a heavy bottom pot, heat oil on medium high. Fry paste till fragrant, red and oil has separated, about 5-7 minutes
4. Add chicken pieces and fry for about 3 minutes.
5. Add 2 1/2 cups coconut milk and water. Add enough water to just barely cover the chicken if needed. Add salt. Simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Finely shred kaffir lime leaves, reserves a generous pinch for garnishing
7. Add finely shredded kaffir lime leaves, potatoes and simmer uncovered until chicken is tender and gravy has thicken, about 20 minutes. Add remaining half cup of coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
8. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving. Skim off some of the red oil that surfaced.
9. Garnish with kaffir lime leaves
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