Nyonya Chicken Curry

(NOTE: Only about one serving)

Pounded Aromatics
4 shallots, skin removed
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cm ginger, skin removed

Curry Powder Paste
2 tablespoons meat curry powder
2 tablespoons water

Sauce
130g (4.6 ounces) chicken boneless thigh or breast meat, cut into bite sized pieces
2 tablespoons of oil, preferably a neutral higher heat oil like canola, grapeseed,
1 stalk curry leaves
2 cm (about 1/2 inch) stick of cinnamon stick
1 star anise
2 cloves
2 cardamon
180 mL (6 ounces) water
30g (1 ounce) potatoes, cut into cubes
1 tsp tamarind juice
1/2 tsp salt
70 mL (2.4 ounces) coconut milk

Make “Pounded Aromatics” paste: pound together shallots, garlic, and ginger in a mortar and pestle. Set aside.

Mix together curry powder and water to make the Curry Powder Paste. Set aside.

Add oil to a skillet at medium heat and cook curry leaves, cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, and cardamon until fragrant.

Add Pounded Aromatics to the skillet and saute for a few more minutes until the mixture is sticky and “goopy” but not caramelized.

Add Curry Paste and fry until the oil separates.

Add water, potatoes, tamarind juice, and salt. Let simmer.

Once the potatoes are almost cooked, add chicken and coconut milk.

Continue cooking until chicken is cooked.

9. Serve!

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Roti Jala

300 grams (about 2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Scant 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
3 ounces coconut milk
2 cups water, divided
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons light vegetable oil
Oil for greasing

Sift flour, salt and turmeric into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Mix coconut milk and about a third of the water. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients. Pour in coconut milk mixture, eggs, another third of the water, and oil. Using a wooden spoon, gradually incorporate flour into the liquid to make a smooth, thick batter free from lumps. Do not over-mix.

Stir in remaining water. Strain batter through a fine sieve to remove any lumps. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rest for 20-30 minutes.

Heat a heavy iron griddle or non-stick pan over medium heat and brush surface lightly with oil.

Stir batter. Dip roti jala mould into it, filling it about half-full. Moving in steady concentric circles, form fine, lacy pancakes.

Once roti jala is lightly colored, remove using a spatula and place, top-side down, on a plate. (There is no need to cook both sides.) Fold into wedges or form into small neat rolls.

Malaysian Chicken Curry (Kari Ayam)

8-12 chicken thighs
1/2 cup (125 ml) vegetable oil
3 star anise
1 cinnamon quill
4 whole cloves
10 curry leaves
1 large red onion, chopped
80 g (2/3 cup) Malaysian meat curry powder
400 ml coconut milk
lime halves (optional) and steamed rice, to serve

Rub chicken with 1 tsp salt, then set aside.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add star anise, cinnamon, cloves and the curry leaves, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

Add onion and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until lightly browned.

Stir in curry powder, then add chicken and stir until well coated.

Add 60 ml coconut milk and stir to combine, then cover and cook for 1 minute.

Add remaining 340 ml coconut milk and 125 ml water, then stir to combine.

Cover again, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through; add extra water if the curry is too thick.

Squeeze over the limes, then add them to the curry, if desired. Serve the chicken curry with steamed rice.

Malaysian Meat Curry Powder

10 whole cloves
10 whole black peppercorns
4 whole cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick (about 2-inches/5 cm)
4 whole dried red chilies
4 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp turmeric

Place a pan over medium heat and toast the cloves, cardamom and peppercorns. Toss a few times, and as soon as they begin to smoke and release their fragrance, set them aside to cool.

Do the same for the cinnamon stick and dried chilies. Set aside separate from the other spices.

Next, toast the coriander seeds. Set aside separately.

Finally, toast the cumin and fennel seeds together. Set aside separately.

Let the spices cool completely.

To grind the spices, you can either use a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. Starting with the harder items first, pound together the cloves, peppercorns, and cardamom.

Next, add the cinnamon stick and chilies and grind well.

Add the cumin and fennel, finishing with the coriander seeds and turmeric.

Once you have finished pounding, you can strain the spices through a sieve to achieve an even finer powder. If there are large bits left over, you can grind these again and strain.

This blend of spices lends wonderful flavor to many curry dishes. To ensure freshness, store any leftover spices in an air-tight container.