Monday, March 2, 2009

Singapore Curry Chicken (Recipe with Pictures)

Want to learn how to cook authentic Singapore Curry Chicken? Read on!

I supposed curry originated from India. Singapore as people know is a multi-racial country where there are diversity in cultures and religions. People of the four majority races, Indians, Malays, Chinese and Eurasians live harmoniously in the small island country. There is strictly no one type of Singapore cuisine, but local Chinese, Malay, Indians and Eurasians influenced each other heavily in their cuisine.
Singapore curry chicken is one of such dishes invented by local Chinese. They use the Indian curry spices and pastes as base and added some “South-east asia” touch to it. One of the characteristic of the Singapore Curry Chicken would be the use of lemongrass, pandan leaves and coconut milk. From what I understand, some Indian curries do not used coconut milk. Lemongrass and pandan leaves are typical South-East Asia herbs which are not used at all in authentic Indian curries.

Curry chicken is one of my mum's best dishes. Her version always a tad spicier and more “lemak” (Malay word for thick and creamy) than other people’s curry chicken and always tasted very delicious. I reviewed her version. She prepared and grinded her own chili, followed by frying them herself. The frying process takes hours which involved constant stirring. I guess modern housewife or people like you and I might not want to spend so much effort to it, thus I thus simplified the whole recipe and added my own touch (to quantify that this version is different from her's).

However, there is still one “complicated” thing needed do in my version which is to get the proper curry paste.


We always buy our curry paste from North Bridge Rd market.

Inside the market, there was stall owned by this Indian lady who sells curry paste.

Basically, you tell the aunty you wanted chicken curry, vege curry or mutton curry etc and the portion of meat i.e. one chicken for example and she would advise you according how much you need.

Because she blended the paste on the spot, she can made adjustment. I usually tell her that I want mine spicier.



What so special about her paste? Her chili was grinded using a machine-operated stone-grind! You can just imagine that all the chili seeds will be crushed to non-existence and all the essential oils will be released into the paste.

Main Ingredients:
Chicken (I used one whole chicken for a big family)

To be cut into chunksEggplant – 1
Onions – 2
Carrots – 2
Russell Potatoes – 3
Long Beans – 10 to 15 pieces

Curry Paste Ingredients:

Curry Chicken Paste - $1

If this is not available (headache), I suppose you can get fresh curry paste from supermarket too. They are usually placed at the fridge near noodles section.

Coconut milk/cream - one packet or one canned.

To be pounded/blended

Chili (optional if you want it spicier) – 2 large one or 5 small bird eye chili
Shallots – 6 pieces
Ginger – 2 to 3 cm knob
Garlic – 1 head

Additional herbs:

Lemongrass – 1 piece (smashed)
Pandan Leaves – 3 leaves tied into a knot

Condiment:

Salt and Sugar to taste

You will also need:

Wok and Soup Pot

Preparation:

Egg plants cut up in large chunks. Do soak them into salt water, otherwise they will oxidized and turned brown. They are to be added lastly.


Onions, Russell potatoes and Carrots cut in chunks.

Chicken cut into chunks as well. I find the meat will "disappear" if cut into too small a chunk.

Long Beans cut up into long snips. They cooked easily thus are to be added lastly.

Method:

In a heated wok, add two - three tablespoons of oil. In high heat, add in the smashed lemon grass which is cut up in two pieces and fry till you can smell the fragance. Then add in the curry paste mixture and fry till you can see red colour oil floating on top of the paste. Stir constantly at this stage as they sticked to the bottom of the pan easily. This will take about 4 to 5 minutes of frying.
Then, add in the chicken pieces. Stir them around till they are coated evenly with the paste.

In a seperated pot, heat up 1/3 pot of water. When boiled, add in the root vegetables.

I got two stoves at home, thus can do them concurrently, otherwise fry the curry paste and chicken first. When chicken pieces are evenly coated and half-cooked, remove them from heat and boiled the water in the soup seperately.

See above. While continuing to maintain high heat, ensured that the chicken are coated evenly with the paste and they are not yet cooked. This process will brown the meat slightly so that they will have a better favour.

Mixed in the half-cook chicken into the pot of boiling root vegetables "soup". Add in the pandan leaves knot as well. Turn into medium low heat and let it simmer for at least 45 minutes to one hour. This allows the curry flavour to permeate into the chicken meat and also allowed the potatoes to "melt" into the sauce.

After one hour is up, add in long beans and egg plants. Let it boil for few minutes, then pour in the coconut milk. Bring it up to a boil and switch off the heat. You do not want to boil the coconut milk mixture for too long as it will start to cuddle.

A pot of delicious Singapore Curry Chicken is served! It goes well with rice or lightly toasted baguette!

For health-conscientious individual, you can substitute the coconut milk with fresh milk or use half -half of the coconut milk and fresh milk mixture.

Check out other recipes here - My Kitchen

4 comments:

QuaChee said...

i remember buying curry paste last time too. hmm, maybe when i go back to cooking, ill try this. looks good :)

Photosophize [ 影.像.物语 ] said...

Do try it out. My mum version is better than this, but it is very complicated to post online. Just have to make do with this, I guess. Haha.

I got more recipes coming up. Do check back.

Anonymous said...

Hi, would like to ask you how you store the curry paste if not cooking on the day bought. Thanks!

Mikkeal said...

hihi, What happens to your pondered ingredients?

Chilli
Garlic
Shallots
Ginger