These days, the sun is setting so early here in Calgary. When I go to work, it is dark...when I get home from work, it is dark. It is a depressing time of year. I find in these cold, dark winter nights, I crave the opposite in my food...something bright, something spicy, and something out of the ordinary. This Malaysian curry is exactly those things.
This is my first time making Malaysian curry. I opted to use a different recipe than the one posted on the Epicurious website (from Around the World in 80 Dishes, which I am attempting to cook my way through) due to the poor reviews of that curry, plus my complete inability to find macadamia nuts. Still. Refer to last week's post. Instead I went with a popular recipe on Food.com.
I have made many Thai curries before, but have never eaten or made Malaysian curry. There were some familiar ingredients that you would find in a Thai curry: chillies, lemongrass, lime leaves, fish sauce and coconut milk. There were some interesting additions to this curry: cinnamon and star anise! Now my curiosity was piqued!
This curry was very, very good. And that's coming from someone who is serious about her curries. It was spicy and intensely flavorful, just like a Thai curry. The cinnamon and star anise added something very interesting to the dish. You can't taste actual cinnamon or star anise flavors per se, but they added a different twist, just a subtly different note than what you would expect from a Thai curry. It was a very nice twist!
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled
- 4 Thai chilies, stems removed (I only included the seeds from 2 chillies, this can be tailored to personal taste)
- 2 lemongrass, stalks trimmed, outer leaves removed and sliced
- 5 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 4 shallots, peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons oil
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until they form a paste. I had to blend mine for quite awhile to grind up all the bits of lemongrass.
Malaysian Curry (4 servings)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 cup snap peas, trimmed
- 6 chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
- 4 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 star anise
- 400 ml light coconut milk (~one and a half cans)
- 100 ml chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- salt and pepper
- cilantro leaves, roughly torn
Add the chicken, carrots, bell peppers and peas, stirring to coat in the paste.
Add lime leaves, cinnamon, star anise, coconut milk, chicken stock, sugar, soy and fish sauces. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes to 45 minutes until chicken is tender, stirring occasionally.
Season with salt and pepper. Remove lime leaves, star anise and cinnamon before serving. Garnish with cilantro, and serve over rice.
**TIP: I increased both the fish sauce and the sugar for this curry. Taste the curry sauce (it will be intense but don't worry, the flavors dilute quite a bit with rice), if it tastes like it needs sugar, add more 1 tablespoon at a time. If it tastes like it is missing something that you can't put your finger on (ie: it needs some pizazz), it is probably fish sauce, which you can also add 1 tablespoon at a time. Those are the two elements I would play around with to get your perfect Malaysian curry.