Chinese New Year when I was a child always meant chicken curry, cooked only by my Dad.
Dad had some friends who lived in a Malay kampung (village) and who reared chickens.
Every Chinese New Year’s Eve, his friends would visit our house with a couple of live chickens and for their trouble Dad rewarded them with a fat ang pow (red envelope of money for good luck).
He then proceeded to slaughter the poor critters in our backyard and my sister and I would try to watch him behind the kitchen curtains, but always ``chickening out’’ and running off at the last minute, unable to bear the sound of frantic squawking.
The rest is best left to the imagination, but suffice to say, after the plucking, the cleaning and the cooking, Dad would proudly serve up his chicken curry.
This is my take on Dad’s recipe for best chicken curry.
The curry serves four and is best eaten with steamed rice or roti.
- 2 chicken Maryland portions, remove skin, cut into three pieces
- 2 potatoes, peeled and halved
- 1 Spanish onion, peeled and quartered
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 thumbsize piece ginger, peeled
- 3 tbsp curry powder, mixed with ½ cup warm water
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 3 cups water
- 6 curry leaves
- 6 cardamom seeds, crushed
- ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
- ½ tsp garam masala
- ¼ cup peanut or vegetable oil for frying
- salt, sugar to taste
- Pound ginger and garlic together in a mortar and pestle or process in a food processor, rub all over chicken pieces.
- Stand for at least ½ hour.
- Heat a deep saucepan and when hot, add oil and heat again.
- Lower heat to medium, onion and stir fry until transparent, but not brown.
- Add chicken and stir fry until fragrant.
- Add curry paste and stir fry until chicken is well coated and oil starts to separate from paste.
- If mixture starts to stick, sprinkle in some water.
- Add potatoes, mix well, add 3 cups water, curry leaves, cardamom, fenugreek seeds and garam masala.
- Bring to the boil, add salt and sugar to taste, lower heat to medium and add coconut milk (do not add coconut milk on full boil as it will curdle).
- Simmer for about 20 minutes or until chicken and potatoes are tender.
- Serve hot.