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Prepping the ingredients

Continuing on from my previous post (tofu fritters), the next dish we made was a chicken curry (kare ayam).

We started by chopping all the spices:

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Makings of the spice paste - tomato, turmeric, macadamia, lemongrass, palm sugar, shrimp paste, shallots, ginger, garlic, galangal, coriander seeds, cumin and two kinds of chilli

These were blended in our large processor, then in the mini processor. In our cooking course we ground the spices by hand (they had these amazing volcanic rock mortal and pestles), sadly our little mortal and pestle was not up to a job of this magnitude:

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Blending

I added a little bit of water and blended until it turned into a paste:

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Spice paste for the chicken curry

Next we fried the spice paste, together with curry leaves, lime leaves and a bruised stalk of lemongrass. We also added some tamarind paste at this point, although I would recommend adding the tamarind to the spice mix, as it didn’t incorporate very well.

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Frying off the paste and the herbs

We added the chicken, cooked until sealed then added water and brought it to the boil:

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Chicken coming to the boil

We transferred it to another pot (don’t have enough woks to go around!) then added the coconut milk and simmered it until the sauce thickened:

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Simmering away

We served it topped with coriander (no its not particularly Balinese, but we wanted to brighten up the flavour with some freshness):

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The end result - not a great picture, the guests were hungry!

The curry was nice, very mild with a sweetness to it. We served it with plain steamed rice, although you could serve it with flavoured rice if you were feeling adventurous. This curry was popular with our guests.

Details

Spice mix

5 small shallots
7 small cloves of garlic
3 large red chillies
3 birds eye chillies
1 tbs ginger
3 tbs galangal (I grated this, but you could just slice it as it is going into the blender)
3 macadamia nuts
1 tbs turmeric
1/2 tomato
2 stalks of lemongrass
1/4 tsp shrimp paste
2 tsp tamarind
2 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tbs palm sugar

Other ingredients

750g chicken pieces (we used thigh)
400ml coconut milk
1 stalk of lemongrass, bruised
3 curry leaves
4 kaffir lime leaves
oil for frying
fresh coriander to garnish

  • Blend all spices, shrimp paste, tamarind, tomato and nuts together in a blender until paste like (add a little water to help it form a paste)
  • Tie the stalk of lemongrass into a knot.
  • Heat the oil, fry off the paste with the lemongrass, lime leaves and curry leaves for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the chicken and toss until sealed.
  • Add 2 cups of water and boil for about 15 minutes, until chicken is cooked.
  • Add coconut milk, bring to the boil and let it simmer until you are happy with the thickness of the sauce (we left ours for another 20 minutes or so, but you could serve it immediately).
  • Add sea salt if necessary (ours was fine) and serve topped with coriander or fried shallots.
  • Serves 4.

Up next: bean and coconut salad.

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