It brings me great pleasure to write about this sensational curry that graced my plate on Friday evening. I’m still actually dreaming about it and planning our next sitting in my head. During the week I had stumbled across this Singaporean dish on my internet travels that really took my fancy. I noted it down having researched the origins and perused the ingredients list, hoping that Dan would share my interest in reproducing it, which he did.
He had actually seen this recipe tucked away in Madhur Jaffrey’s book ‘The Curry Bible’ previously, and had been meaning to give it a go for some time. With that it was decided that he would cook it for our ‘Curry Friday’ (with a couple of personal tweaks and changes here and there) and I was eager to get stuck in as it contained so many of my favourite things – lemon grass, ginger, curry leaves and kaffir lime leaves to name a few. If you don’t yet own her wonderful book, the recipe is also available online on the Forkd website here.
To make our version of this curry (serves two generously) you will need:
– 500g chicken thighs (skinless/boneless/cut into chunks)
– Two and a half tablespoons of curry powder (see below to make your own)
– Three sticks of lemon grass
– Three tablespoons of sunflower oil
– Five slices of fresh ginger (approx size of a ten pence piece)
– Four new potatoes (peeled/halved)
– One onion (very finely chopped)
– Eight kaffir lime leaves (we used frozen & defrosted – very finely chopped)
– Ten curry leaves (we used frozen & defrosted – very finely chopped)
– Two to three fresh green chillies (finely chopped – we omitted these)
– One teaspoon of salt
– One can of coconut milk
– Two tablespoons of thick tamarind paste
– Two medium tomatoes (cut into eight pieces each)
– One teaspoon of sugar
To make Madhur Jaffrey’s curry powder:
– Two teaspoons of whole peppercorns
– Two tablespoons of whole coriander seeds
– One tablespoon of whole cumin seeds
– One and a half teaspoons of whole brown mustard seeds
– Three dried red chillies (crumbled)
– Five to six whole cloves
– One teaspoon of ground turmeric
– One teaspoon of whole fenugreek seeds
Roast all above ingredients in a pan (apart from the turmeric) until they become aromatic. Grind and add the turmeric.
– Firstly rub one and a half teaspoons of the curry powder all over the chicken chunks and put to one side to marinate.
– To prepare the lemon grass, cut the tops off leaving you with approximately seven inch lengths, then split in half lengthways. Fold into thirds lengthways and tie in a bundle with kitchen twine.
– Next heat the oil in a wok or pan with a lid (medium heat) and add the ginger slices. Stir fry until brown, pressing them down occasionally and then discard.
– Add in the potatoes and brown on all sides before removing with a slotted spoon. Add in the onions and cook for around four minutes or until golden. Then spoon in the remaining curry powder, lemon grass, lime leaves and curry leaves. If you are using fresh chillies you can also add them at this point.
– Stir and cook for around four minutes, then put the chicken, potatoes and salt in, along with 100ml of water (recipe says 475ml but we like a thick sauce) and the coconut milk.
– Give it a good stir and bring to the boil, then cover and simmer gently on a low heat for twenty minutes.
– Add the tamarind and cook for a further five minutes, making sure the chicken is well coated in sauce. At this point the tomatoes and sugar can go in for the last four minutes of uncovered cooking time.
– Remove the lemon grass and serve with basmati rice (Dan added a little turmeric to ours to make a change, hence the colour).
I likened this delectable fusion of cuisines and flavours to eating a Thai Red Curry, a Massaman Curry and a Bhuna all in one. That in itself makes for something quite tremendous. The first taste to hit you is the fruitiness of the tamarind and the kaffir lime leaves, followed by the deep, spicy notes of the curry powder, enhanced by the earthiness of the fenugreek. Then you have the juiciness of the tomatoes adding a freshness to the whole dish. My husband also loves potato in a curry and after eating this one, I’m starting to as well, as they soaked up all of the aromas a treat. His little tweak of reducing the amount of water added was also a clever call, as the sauce was perfectly thick and rich. Just how I like it.
This really is something else…and needless to say it has immediately jumped into first place on our ‘favourite curries’ list. It’s by far the tastiest and most enjoyable curry that Dan has ever cooked for me. And we’ve eaten a lot. Hats off to him and of course Madhur Jaffrey. Outstanding.