|easy Malaysian-style chicken curry|
I like to make my own curry spice mixes, but there are some really good ones out there. If you are looking for a Malay spice mix, then you really need a sweet curry blend that includes aniseed flavours, including star anise and fennel - this is what sets a Malaysian curry apart from an Indian one.
But while I may like to make my own mixes, my Asian friends think I'm mad to waste my time, and over the years have recommended various brands that are easily available in this country, in particular those made by Shan Foods. Frankly, if it is good enough for their mothers, then it is good enough for me!
Shan's do a Malay Biryani mix which is quite spicy, and definitely needs a little cream or coconut milk to calm it down. Seasoned Pioneers have one that is fragrant with cardamom, galangal and cloves and Steenbergs have a fabulous Malay masala mix which is infused with fennel and cinnamon. If you can't get any of these, I would suggest getting a good quality garam masala spice mix and adding a little ground fennel.
Many curries need long slow cooking in order for all the flavours to develop and to cook the raw spices, but dry-frying the spices first gives the spices a head start.
Fabulous food blogger, Rupert, cooking gorgeous food at Casa Rosada in the Algarve, suggested that my magic cookie dust might work as a thickener in a curry. There was certainly no reason why it shouldn't. I tried it here, but to be honest, the curry was already quite spicy so while it did thicken, there wasn't any appreciable difference in flavour. Next time, I'll cook a much milder curry and give it a try!
My quick Malaysian-style chicken curry
Serves 2 (this is very approximate, a rough and ready recipe!)
Skill level: Easy
leftover roast chicken
1 x English onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (or 2 tsps fresh chopped garlic and 1 tsp of freshly grated ginger)
2 tsp Shan's Malay Biryani Spice mix
water or chicken stock
magic cookie dust (optional!)
8 x baby plum or cherry tomatoes, quartered
half tsp tamarind paste (or a splash of fresh lemon or lime juice)
Shan Malay Chicken Biryani Mix
leftover cooked potatoes, cut into chunks - I also added some leftover veg including peas and broad beans
a splash of single cream (or coconut milk)
chopped cucumber and spring onions, drizzled with a little dark soy sauce, to serve
sambal, to serve
rice, to serve
- Dry-fry the spices for about 30 seconds, before tipping them into a small bowl.
- Add oil to the pan and when hot, add the onions and cook over a medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, when they should begin to soften. Add the ginger-garlic paste, stir well and cook for a minute or two.
- Add the refreshed spices and stir well to ensure that they are well mixed with the onions, before adding torn up strips of roast chicken. Cook for another minute before adding the tomatoes.
- Add about 125ml of chicken stock or water and half a teaspoon of tamarind paste or a splash of fresh lemon or lime juice. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes. About 5 minutes before the end, add the cooked potatoes. Ensure that they are completely warmed through.
- If the curry is too liquid, you can add some of the magic cookie dust to thicken it up! About 1 tablespoon will do.
- Check the seasoning and add a splash of cream.
- Serve with rice, cucumber and spring onion salad and sambal.