Let’s Cook! Cape Malay Chicken Curry
August 6, 2010
Arguably the best item served at the recent Taste of Africa Street Party (take a look at our first post on that event here) in Disney’s Animal Kingdom was a delicious, complex chicken curry. Actually all the dishes were pretty darn good, but this was one of the standouts. Generously the recipe for this (and some of the other items) were given away at the event, so let’s make some curry! Here’s the recipe as presented (pretty much, with some comments added by yours truly).
Serves 4 (or maybe two readers of Eating and Drinking Around the World…)
2 Tbl Olive Oil
2 Lbs Large Diced Chicken Thigh (boneless, of course)
1 Tbl Kosher Salt
1 Tsp Black Pepper
6 Tbl Vegetable Oil (canola, peanut, or more olive would be fine)
2 each Finely Chopped Medium Onions – or about 2 cups
8 cloves Peeled and Sliced Garlic
3” Piece Peeled and Chopped Fresh Root Ginger – about 2 Tbsp (or a bit more…)
2 each Chopped Small Jalapenos – de-seeded and de-veined (okay, you know me – I’d keep all the innards in, and make it 3 or 4 peppers…)
2 Tsp Madras Curry Powder (if you don’t have Madras handy, use any good-quality curry powder – you may want to add some ground cayenne…)
1 Tbl Paprika
1 Tsp Mild Red Curry Paste (okay, so I have no idea what “Mild Red Curry Paste” is supposed to be – sounds like an oxymoron to me… I used Thai Red Curry Paste. Maesri brand comes in small tins in most any Asian market, or you should be able to find some sort in most decent-size grocery…)
6 Tbl Flour
1.5 Cups Chopped Tomatoes (good canned ones unless you have a lot of nice ripe ones in the garden you need to use up – a 15 oz can or so is about right)
8 oz Tomato Juice (use the juice from the canned tomatoes, plus you’ll probably need a bit more…)
Method of Preparation
- Season the diced chicken with the salt and pepper.
- Heat the 2 Tbl of oil in large heavy skillet or sauce pan and sear the chicken until golden brown. Remove chicken and reserve. (you’ll probably need to do this in batches – getting the chicken nice and brown will add good flavor and tasty stuff in the pan that we can de-glaze later…)
- For the sauce, add the remaining oil to the same pan, add the onions and saute until translucent. (I’d do this over medium heat)
- Add the ginger, garlic and jalapenos. Stir for 30 seconds than turn the heat down to very low.
- Cook for 15 minutes stirring frequently to be sure the mixture doesn’t burn (if need be add a bit more oil or a bit of water).
- Add the curry powder, paprika and curry paste and cook for 5 minutes, stirring gently. Don’t burn the spices or the sauce will taste bad – sprinkle on a few drops of water if needed (ditto that…).
- Add the flour and cook another 5 minutes over low heat.
- Add half the tomato juice (use this opportunity to scrape up the bottom of the pan and get up any of that cooked in goodness) and remove from the heat.
- Place the remaining juice, contents of the pan and chopped tomatoes all in a blender (okay, unless you got a big blender, use your food processer…) and blend until very smooth.
- Put the mixture back in the pan and cook for 20-30 minutes (the longer the better – I did more like an hour) over very low heat stirring frequently. You can add a little hot water if it starts to catch on the pan but the idea is to gently “fry” the sauce which will darken in color to an orangey brown The final texture should be something like good tomato ketchup (cook as long as you can – just be sure not to scorch it…).
- Add the chicken and cook another 10 to 15 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with cilantro (yeah, I know – there wasn’t cilantro in the ingredients list… just chop up as much cilantro as you like and stir in at the end and sprinkle a bit on top as well).
Serve this on rice of course… like most curries, this is just as good, if not better, the second day. Should also freeze quite nicely, if you can keep from eating the whole damn thing first that is! Made to the recipe, it does have a little bit of a bite, but not too spicy for most except the most delicate of palates. For those maybe serve with some plain yogurt or even sour cream on the side. Me, I’d up the heat some with extra peppers or ground cayenne, or maybe finely chop some jalapenos or other hot pepper and serve over the top of the finished product.
This is definitely a “weekend cooking” recipe – it does take some time, but it’s mostly “tending time”, a good amount of stirring and being sure you don’t burn the darn thing…
It’s quite tasty and worth the effort… give it a try and experience a bit of the Taste of Africa at home!
Back to the kitchen…