Friday, August 23, 2013

chicken curry with potatoes

The first time I cooked a curry, I ended up with a curry powder soup that was so, so bad, I ran out to buy dinner after throwing away the entire contents of my pot. Since then, I was so traumatized that I did not even think about trying to cook another curry until 6 years later.

Yes, it was THAT bad.

One day after 6 years, I decided to be brave and experiment again because I wanted to eat chicken curry and I really prefer home-made versions of everything. Since for the longest time, I did not have a food processor, and I did not relish the thought of annoying my neighbours with the pounding sounds from my pestle and mortar (I lived in an apartment then), I turned to ready-made curry pastes instead.

After lots of experimenting, I finally found my favourite curry paste. I use A1 curry paste for meat, as well as Baba's meat curry powder when I make this quick and easy chicken curry. I really like them for the depth of flavour they bring to the curry.

Besides chicken and potatoes, I also used red onions, curry leaves and lemon grass to make the curry.

The first thing I did was to season the chicken pieces with the curry powder, and set this aside. Then I sliced the onion, trimmed and pounded the lemon grass and removed the curry leaves from the stalks. I tend to use loads of curry leaves since there is a curry plant in my estate and the leaves are always free!

In a pot, I added some oil and the onions. I sauteed the onions until they became translucent and soft. Then I transferred them into a bowl and added a little more oil to the pot. I added the curry leaves and lemon grass and gave everything a couple of stirs.

The onions were added back into the pot, along with the curry paste and stirred until everything was well-combined.

At the stage, I added the chicken and continued stirring.

Once the bottom of the pot became dry, I added enough water to barely cover the chicken. When the water came to a boil, I turned the heat to medium, and simmered the chicken for about 10 minutes before adding the potatoes.

The oil will float to the surface, so keep skimming it off. As soon as the chicken was cooked through, and the potatoes had softened, I added salt and coconut milk.

The curry was ready to be served. With a couple of loaves of baguette, or a bowl of rice.

Easy, yes?

Curry Chicken with Potatoes (Serves 4-6)

1.5 chicken, cut into pieces
6 potatoes, peeled and halved - I used local potatoes that are waxy, not starchy
2 packets curry paste for meat - I used A1
1/8 cup curry powder for meat - I used Baba's
a handful of curry leaves
3-4 stalks lemon grass
3 medium onions, sliced
Water to barely cover chicken
salt, to taste
1/8-1/4 cup coconut milk, to taste

1. Marinate chicken with curry powder. Set aside.
2. Heat oil, add onions and saute over medium heat until they softened and have become translucent. Remove from pot.
3. Add a little more oil to the pot. Add curry leaves and then lemon grass. Stir, the return onions to pot. Add curry paste and stir until well-combined.
4. Add chicken and stir to mix. Once the bottom of the pot becomes dry, add enough water to barely cover the chicken.
5. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer chicken for about 10 minutes. Add potatoes, and continue to cook until the chicken is cooked through, and the potatoes have softened. Skim off oil that floats to the surface.
6. Season with salt, and add enough coconut milk to suit your taste.
7. Serve hot, with rice or bread.

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