Saturday, August 16, 2008

Chicken Coconut Curry

This is one of those dishes you make when you have some leftover chicken from the chook roast you did the night before. You really don't need much chicken meat, just make sure you've got plenty of chicken stock from the roasting pan.

This can easily be made into a flamethrower dish if you are so inclined. As much as I like spicy and hot foods, I *do* like to actually taste the subtle flavouring nuances of the meal.

Holy CRAP! I can't believe I just typed "subtle flavouring nuances" without even thinking about it! Gack! Somebody pass the pitcher of cheap american beer, a chili dog, a platter of nachos, the buffalo wings, and turn the channel to pro wrestling, QUICK!

Sorry about that... back to your regularly scheduled culinary blog...

Chicken Coconut Curry

What you need:

1 to 2 cups leftover, cooked, diced, chicken meat
1 can coconut cream (400 ml or 12 oz)
a small dollup sour cream (if it's too spicy for you)
1/2 cup cream (in case it's still too spicy for you)
2 cups chicken stock from last night's roast chook
1 tbsp chicken stock powder (if you don't have last night's chicken stock)
1 cup of basmati rice (or any long-grained rice)
1 or 2 tbsp olive oil

Spices needed:
2 tbsp vindaloo paste (really really really HOT stuff, you may want to use less)
2 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tbsp prepared lemon grass
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tsp turmeric powder
small handful of finely minced onion
1 tbsp minced ginger

What you do:

Put the rice on to cook. Whether it's in your microwave, rice cooker, or stovetop. Remember, 1 cup of rice to 2 (or 2 1/2) cups of water.

Put the coconut cream, chicken stock and diced chicken into a large saucepan. Low heat, simmer with lid on.

While the rice is cooking and the saucepan is simmering, you get to prepare the spices! The spices AND the way they are prepared is (are) the key to this dish! So if you don't do anything else I say, just make sure you prepare the spices PROPERLY! Excuse me while I get off my soapbox now.

Put the 2 tbsp of olive oil in a wok. Flame on medium to medium high (depends on your cooker). Now, you're going to be adding the spices all at once so while the oil is heating (should only take 1 min at the most) you can add all the spices (including the minced onion) to a bowl. As soon as the oil is hot enough (just BEFORE it starts to smoke) add all the spices at once. Move the searing spices around well, toss them a few times, use a wooden spoon, do what you'd like to keep it moving while hearing that wonderful sizzling sound. No, I don't have pics of this procedure cus it's over so fast! One or two minutes in the wok should do it. You'll be smelling some of the most GORGEOUS aromas you've ever smelt... hmmmm can aromas be gorgeous?

Add the seared spices to the saucepan with the chook stock, coconut cream and chook pieces. Give it a good stir. Cover and let it simmer til the rice is done.

Ta-Da! From start to finish only 18 mins!

Oh, wait... you are gonna ask where the cream and the sour cream come into play, aren't you? Just before the rice is done, give the curry a taste. If it's too spicy, then add the sour cream and stir well. If it burns your mouth, then add not only the sour cream but the cream too. If it's still too spicy, then maybe you'll believe me when I tell you that vindaloo paste is very hot!

Nah, all joking aside: 3 of the 4 house folk down here think a quick grind of black pepper in a soup pot is spicy, and they all LOVE this dish! The trick is to sear the spices first.

Serve it over the rice, have plenty of fried pappadams on the side.  

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