I ate a lot of curries while growing up in my hometown, Kuching. I am probably blessed with having Indian relatives on both my Dad’s and Mum’s sides of the family.

I remembered having attended Indian ceremony weddings of my aunts. I loved the Indian thali meal, which was made up of a selection of various dishes (sweet and savoury).  The thali I know here in Europe is served on a steel tray made with multiple compartments or served in small bowls, which are placed on a round tray or big round plate.  The ones I knew back then (in Malaysia) were served on banana leaves (Mmmm…yummy!). On top of that, we ate with our hands. No cutleries.  It was fun eating with our fingers, and washing our hands before and after eating was compulsory 😀

Here are some examples of thalis I have had in Belgium – the Nepalese thali (assortment of meat and vegetables) and the Indian vegetarian thali. As you can see, few familiar items were missing – the chutneys/ pickles, rotis and the indispensable pappadum. *sigh*

Anyway, something better than nothing…

1a. Chix curry 4 the guys_Nepalese thali1b. Chix curry 4 the guys_Indian veg thali

1c. Chix curry 4 the guys_chix tikka masala1d. Chix curry 4 the guys_mango lassi sorbet

By the way, “Banana leaf” restaurants are ubiquitous in the 13 states and 3 FederalTerritories of Malaysia and neighboring Singapore, in particular, areas with significant ethnic South Indian. In other words, the South Indian migrants brought this banana leaf rice concept with them to Malaysia and Singapore.

Thanks to them, all Malaysians and Singaporeans of any origin and racial group could enjoy this coolest way of serving rice dishes on a banana leaf (aka disposable plates) with or without cutleries 😛

Hmmmm…..It has been eons ago since I had a proper banana leaf rice meal. My younger sister sent me some pictures of what she and Mum had been indulging recently.  I could only drool….

Eating with the hand

Eating with the hand

One of the many Banana Leaf restaurants in Malaysia

One of the many Banana Leaf restaurants in Malaysia

A fusion of Indian and Malay on a banana leaf rice meal

A fusion of Indian and Malay on a banana leaf rice meal

OMG!  One of my favourite rotis - the paper dosa and teh tarik!!!!!!

OMG! One of my favourite rotis – the paper dosa and teh tarik!!!!!!

Points to ponder :

Did you know that meal etiquette exist by the way one fold the banana leaf? If the banana leaf is folded inwards (towards your direction), this dictates a sign of gratitude and appreciation to the chef or the host. The opposite is true if you fold the banana leaf upwards or outwards, as this signifies ingratitude or a sign of condolence to the host.  Contrary to popular belief, the folding of the banana leaf inwards and outwards does not, in any way, dictate the rating of the meal.

Hence, the rule of thumb:

Inwards (towards your heart) = gratitude => must do

Outwards (away from your heart) = impoliteness => to avoid

Ooops, sorry for the diversion, now let’s get to the point…

Erm…where was I?

Scurry Curry

No, it’s not scary curry, but scurry curry that was made in a hurry. Boy, that rhymed so well 😀

I made this curry dish especially for my guys (hubs, and my two boys) one Sunday morning because I had a planned ladies’ day out with 4 girlfriends that day. We had a scrumptious – but a bit pricey – Moroccan tagine meal. Shhhh….

3a. Chix curry 4 the guys_moroccan13b. Chix curry 4 the guys_moroccan2

3c. Chix curry 4 the guys_moroccan33d. Chix curry 4 the guys_moroccan4

Perhaps out of guilt, I forethought a wholesome one-dish meal for my guys before I left the house just before noon; I have cooked up several different dishes already – spaghetti Bolognese, Beef Rendang, fried rice, fried noodles, shepherd’s pie…. As you can tell, I have had some moments of time out with the girls 😉

That Sunday, I knew what I had to cook, and chicken curry it was, as this was not on the list yet. I know I’m spoiling my guys, but I love them too much to let them go grumpily hungry and by the way, my hubby is not one who likes to eat out  😦  or :-D.  What can I say?  Sheer labour of love 😀

This chicken curry I cooked was made in a flash in all-in-one pan with almost all fresh herbs and spices. No instant bumbus. In hindsight, I wish I was there to indulge, because it tasted as good as it looked 😉

4 Chix curry 4 the guys_all-in-one

Ingredients –

(Serves 3 – 4)

3 chicken legs – washed, skinned and cut in thighs and drumsticks (this will total 6 chicken parts) Note: I prefer chicken legs to chicken breasts as the later tend to be dryer while the former will retain the moist, remain succulent and tastier hours after cooking

2 – 3 Tbsp cooking oil

1 can coconut milk, ca 400 ml

Chicken stock cube, to taste

Salt, to taste

1 – 2 cups water (adjustable, depending on how liquid you want the curry sauce to end up)

Wet ingredients –

1 big onion, chopped finely

1 thumb fresh ginger, grated

1 small fresh turmeric, grated (use turmeric powder if you don’t want to end up with yellow-stained fingers)

4 cloves garlic, minced with some coarse sea salt

4 red shallots, chopped finely

4 roots of fresh coriander, minced

Note: I minced, chopped and grated these ingredients by hand. By all means, use a blender if you want a smoother texture, but I like a bit of a bite in my curry sauce.

Dry spices –

1 cinnamon stick

3 cloves

1 Tbsp garam masala (I blended my own garam masala – so fragrant!) *

1 – 2 tsp cumin powder, to taste

1/2 – 1 tsp coriander powder, to taste

2 Tbsp curry powder, to taste

½ – 1 tsp chilli powder (I got a jar of homemade ground chilli from my Mum. Thanks Mum!)

* Garam masala is a blend of ground spices. Garam means “hot” and masala means “spices”. A typical version of garam masala includes black & green cardamom pods, black & white peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves and cumin seeds. Since there is not one garam masala that is considered more authentic than another, I would normally include one or two more spices.  On top of the 5 mentioned spices, I added coriander seeds and fennel seeds. All these are toasted (dry roasted) to exude that extraordinary aroma before being blended in powder form.

Spices for garam masala. These were dry roasted and blended into powder form. The ground garam masala can be kept for months in an airtight jar

Spices for garam masala. These were dry roasted and blended into powder form. The ground garam masala can be kept for months in an airtight jar

Mum's homemade chilli powder - one of my secret ingredients ;-)

Mum’s homemade chilli powder – one of my secret ingredients 😉

Fresh herbs & vegetables –

1 large carrot (or 2 small ones) – cut in rounds or on the bias

2 tomatoes (quartered)

6 potatoes (halved)

2 stalks lemon grass (bruised)

6 kaffir lime leaves (slightly torn or bruised)

2 cm thick galangal (bruised)

1 green + 1 red chillies (scored lightly lengthwise, leaving the seeds intake and remove before serving)

A handful of curry leaves (unfortunately, I could not find any fresh ones, hence, had to settle for the dried ones.  I crunched them to bring out the flavour)

Method –

1. Sauté the wet ingredients until fragrant and translucent.
2. Add a little water to the ground spices (garam masala, cumin & curry powder) to make a thick paste. This will avoid the dry spices being burnt when frying in the pan.
3. Stir and combine for a few minutes until another dimension of fragrance exudes from the pan.
4. Add the chicken parts, cinnamon stick, cloves and chilli powder. Stir and make sure that the chicken parts are coated with the spices and sautéed ingredients. Fry for a minute or two.
5. Add the coconut milk followed by lemon grass, galangal, and chillies and crunched curry leaves. Simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Add the potatoes, carrots and kaffir lime leaves.  Simmer on medium heat until the potatoes and chicken meat are cooked. You may want to add more water at this stage if you want a runny curry sauce.  Season to taste.
7. Finally add the tomatoes. Simmer for 5 minutes and again check for final seasoning.
8. Serve with hot steamed rice or roti or just plain white bread or baguette.
Irresistibly tasty!

Irresistibly tasty!

Scurry Chicken Curry - my labour of love

Scurry Chicken Curry – my labour of love

When I got home that late afternoon, the pan was empty – in my opinion – analogous to folding the banana leaf inwards (direction of the heart).  Actions speak louder than words 😉

All’s well that ends well 😀

I am submitting this entry to Little Thumbs Up event with the theme “CURRY”, hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats well in Flanders, organized by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of my little favourite D.I.Y.

Photobucket

Enjoy the sunny weekend!

Cheers and take care

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Comments
  1. melharry says:

    2 thumbs up from me. Your curry is more cair type….the usual curry di sitok slalunya pekat. But to me i prefer mom’s and like yours too..sik mok pekat glak. Mun mau nyaman agik u fry the potatoes in wedges..add them later…taste better. Like mom always does. ♡

  2. Nasifriet says:

    Definitely. 100% ! Mum’s curry’s the best – fresh coconut milk, which she squeezes the milk with her hand. Unfortunately, hv to settle with canned coconut milk. My version has a mix of Thai, Malaysian-Indian influence, with the addition of fresh kaffir lime leaves, roots of coriander, fresh turmeric, and not forgetting the garam masala (not store bought). I can’t find the curry gilin paste here which Mum uses in her curries. The curry paste sold here are pre-packed, too commercialised.

    Having said that, honestly speaking, I prefer a wee bit more soupy curry, because it keeps well in the fridge and the taste is even more intensed the next day. The sauce gets more “pekat” (thick) and that’s absolutely great to go with roti canai or bread/ baguette.

    I’ve never added fried potato wedges in my curry. Great tip. Will do that next time. Could not do that for this one because this was done scurrily, as I had a date with the girls 😀

    Just a note, when I made this curry. I only made use of one pan, a knife, a small grater, a spoon and a chopping board 😉

  3. Wow, delicious curry! You are a super cook, your family is so lucky!
    The banana leaf rice has reminded me to remind my hubby that he owes me one banana leaf lunch! Told him about it a number of times and I have forgotten all about it! Now I am so craving for it all over again! 🙂

  4. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks, Joyce.
    I”m learning everyday 😀 Being away from home (M’sia) for so many years, I am not now pampered with Mum’s delicious homecooked dishes, but have to learn all the kitchen tricks and tips by memory from my Mum’s kitchen 🙂

    BTW, you guys are so lucky to live in a land where banana leaf meals are in abundance. I can only dream. The next time I visit my sis in KL, she’ll know where to bring me to 😉

    Hope you’re reading this, Sis 😀

    Cheers!

  5. Hi Nasifriet,
    You know you can buy frozen banana leaves from the chinese supermart and it can be kept for a long time?
    Wow, you make your own garam masala! I love to make hot spicy curry with chicken drumsticks, but too bad my kids are too young to take too spicy food, though my boy can take mildly spicy curry, like peranakan curry with no chillies added. Hubby doesnt like anything with skin and bones, but I think the best parts of the chicken to go with curry are the drumsticks!

    I once went to a indian spice stall in a Singapore wet market and asked for curry powder. The old indian lady first asked me whether it was for meat or fish curry. I will never forget how she spooned different kinds of grounded spices into a plastic bag, most of them were dry, but there was one ingredient that was wet. The spices were all so fresh and fragrant!

  6. Nasifriet says:

    Yeah, I remember seeing those banana leaves at our local asian store. The thai restos used these as decorative “plates” on top of the porcelein plates or tray. Will go buy some the next time. I’m getting ideas for a thali meal on banana leaves LOL!

    Ah, in my household, everyone enjoys spicy food, esp my older son. The younger one is exploring but is getting there. I guess I’ve trained their palates as my Mum has trained mine 😀

    You’re right, the drumsticks and the thighs are the best parts of the chicken. I always remove the skins in my curries, but will leave the skin on when baking or pan frying them.

    Re the pastes, yes, there are diffs betw meat and fish curry pastes. My Mum used to get her fresh “gilin” pastes from an Indian pak chik. He would scoop some vibrant red, orange, brown, yellow and white pastes (usually wet pastes) in a banana leaf! So fragrant. We always enjoyed the fresh curry pastes back then.. well, now, have to make my own 😀

  7. […] Scurry Chicken Curry – A labour of LOVE […]

  8. […] Scurry Chicken Curry – A labour of LOVE […]

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