Archive for the ‘Curry’ Category

1st November this year fell on a Tuesday. I could have made a bridge for a longer “weekend”, but could not due to my workload at work 😦

I was glad to break off work for that one day that week for a yearly family reunion, hosted by one of my SIL’s. While driving to my SIL’s, we stopped at a friend’s house. I received a text message from F that she was giving away some of her ‘harvests’ in her garden. 

Guess what? I hand-picked the chillies in her garden. They were so, very, very fresh! She wanted only the red ones, so I helped myself to the green chillies. I didn’t mind the ‘raw version’ at all, because I knew if I left the chillies wrapped in absorbent paper in the lower drawer of the fridge, the chillies would ripen. 

And I was right!

10 days later, some of the birds’ eye chillies had turned to a lovely bright orange-crimson colour. And I knew exactly where some of the chillies would end up into 😉

Thai Chef vs Me

There was one Wednesday that I took a day off and brought my 2 sons out for lunch (Note, both boys had half-day school / Univ on a Wednesday). We went to a Thai resto near our place. 

For starter, I ordered Tom Yum Goong (TYG) for us. It was a good TYG, but I missed that Oomph in their soup. It was a wee bit too lame. 

Saturday came, and TYG was in the pipeline for our lunch menu.

So here it was, my version vs the Thai Chef’s. 


And not only that, I made my TYG in my thermomix! 


To be honest, I could eat my TYG all day without anything else that day, because it had been a while since I last made the soup! I looked back at a post I wrote; it was in March this year when I had friends over. You can read it all … Here 🙂

Because I love bold-tasting soups, I thought of a way to totally infuse the aromatics in the soup first before proceeding further. Be warned! It’s a highly seasoned soup that hits the palate and warms the heart without burning, if you know what I meant 😉

(Note: This is my own recipe using my preferred method – tried and tested – after a few trials and errors).  

Please be aware that some measurements are not given as only you will know how much or how little you want to put in the dish. Remember, “Ut quod ali cibus est aliis fuat acre venenum” or what is food for one man may be bitter poison to others. 

Ingredients A

  • 2 cm piece galangal
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 lemongrass
  • 2 coriander roots

Ingredient B

  • 5 g cooking oil / coconut oil

Ingredient C

  • 1,500 g water

Ingredients D

  • Lemongrass, bruised and halved
  • Shallots, halved 
  • Galangal, sliced
  • Bird’s eye chillies, lightly bruised
  • Kaffir lime leaves, lightly bruised with the fingers

Ingredients E

  • Fish sauce, to taste
  • Homemade chilli paste, eyeball for colour, taste and flavour
  • Salt, to taste 

Ingredients F

  • Prawns, shelled 
  • Mushrooms, sliced 

Ingredient G

  • Lime juice, to taste
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved or whole

Ingredient H

  • Fresh coriander 

Steps –

  • Place A in the TM bowl. Grind 5 sec/ sp 10  * 2

  • Add B. Sauté for 3 mins/100C/ sp 2 
  • Place D in SB and add C. Cook for 15 mins/ 120C/ sp1


  • Remove the SB and tip the aromatics in a bowl. Set aside for garnish later.

  • Transfer F in the SB. Cook for 4 mins/120C/ sp 1 or until the prawns are cooked. 

  • Remove the SB and set aside the cooked prawns, mushrooms, etc
  • Add E. Cook further for 5 mins/ 120C/ sp 2


  • Add G. Stir for 1 min/ R/ spoon
  • Assemble a serving bowl with prawns, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, some slices of galangal, bird’s eye chillies, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Garnish with H.
  • Done!


Happy 1st Anniversary!

I made the TYG to go with my Nasi Ulam and baked spiced chicken. Our Saturday lunch was the bomb, by the way, with full-blown explosion of flavours. Yup, my kind of food 🙂


There’s no better way to celebrate my first year anniversary of owning the thermomix than sharing with you some of the dishes I have conjured the past 12 months using my most used kitchen gadget today!

And as they say, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words‘ …


IMPORTANT NOTICE : Please be aware that I’m neither a Consultant/ Advisor nor an employee of Thermomix.  I am NOT paid anything from any parties. I just happened to own a thermomix and love doing what I’m doing and will continue doing so. 

Happy Mid-Week ya’ll!

Cheers!

Most people think that all curries are very hot. This is NOT true.

There are many variations of curry, from mild to fairly hot to extremely hot, from sweet to sour-ish, from green to yellow to red, from light (“dry”) to thick (“wet”) curry, from vegetarian to seafood to meat curry.

Curry was anglicised (adopted) from the Tamil word “kari”, meaning – simply – “sauce” and curry powder, is (unfortunately) a Western notion of a commercially prepared spiced mixture 😀

The most traditional South Asian curries are paste-based and definitely homemade. Even the powder form are home blended to attain the best result and aroma.

Malaysian curry is quite complex, using several different fresh herbs and dry spices as opposed to some curries using only dry spices or fresh herbs, one or the other. Malaysian curry is largely influenced by the flavours of Southern India while at the same time, intermingling with flavours of South East Asia, which can be rather hot, but fragrant. Curry leaves are commonly added to enhance the flavour of the curry dish. Then there’s the Nyonya curry which includes a secret ingredient, the belacan (dried shrimp paste). Potatoes and fresh tomatoes are often added as final touches to a tasty Nyonya curry. Sometimes pandan leaves (screw pine leaves) are used to aromatize the curry dish.

Being a curry person, I love all kinds of curries. A curry dish is really quite simple to cook.

For this post, I’m concocting a curry dish with prawns using fresh herbs of my choice. No dry spices. This curry dish includes flavours of South East Asia – lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, ginger, coriander roots and fresh turmeric besides the inevitable ingredients of fresh chillies, shallots, onions and garlic. I did not blend the ingredients into a paste but kept them apart for texture.

1. Fragrant prawn curry_ingredients for sauté 

I used 2 lemongrass (lightly bruised and halved), a handful of kaffir lime leaves (shredded), 3cm piece galangal (sliced), 5cm piece ginger (minced), 6 coriander roots (minced), 3cm piece fresh turmeric (minced), 1 large onion (chopped finely), 4 shallots (chopped finely), 4 cloves garlic (minced) and 2 fresh chillies.

Wait a sec…only 2 chillies?

Well, I did use something else! Something I always have in my fridge.

I added a teaspoon each – to taste of course – of the shrimp paste (which is actually NOT belacan, but fried dried shrimps in bean oil, the Thai way), Malaysian curry powder AND last but not least, the “fiery” Mae Pranom Shrimp Flavor Crushed Chillies. Really, a little goes a long way 😉

2. Fragrant prawn curry_shrimp paste + curry powder 

 And of course, the star of the dish – the Prawns!

3. Fragrant prawn curry_raw prawns 

If you have counted the number of prawns on the plate, that’s how many prawns I used for this curry dish. Thirty-three prawns 😀

Let’s get started!

Here’s how I cooked my fragrant prawn curry.

Remember there was no curry paste? So what went in first were the chopped ingredients – the onion and shallots. Sauté until fragrant, then add all the minced ingredients – garlic, ginger, coriander roots and fresh turmeric. Keep stirring and then add in the slices of galangal, shredded kaffir lime leaves, curry powder, shrimp paste and the fiery crushed chillies. Then in went 400ml can coconut milk, the lemongrass, potatoes and fresh whole chillies (slit lengthways). Season to taste.

4. Fragrant prawn curry_sauté_paste

Cook for a few minutes to amalgamate the ingredients in the curry or until the potatoes are par-cooked, then add 3 tomatoes (skinned) and quartered.

5. Fragrant prawn curry_sauté_tomatoes +potatoes 

Simmer for 2 minutes before adding the prawns

Well, we all know that it is a sin to overcook prawns; that’s why I left the crustaceans last to complete the curry dish. Stir to combine the prawns in the curry sauce. Simmer for a few minutes more.

6. Fragrant prawn curry_sauté_prawns raw

You will know if the dish is ready when the potatoes and prawns are cooked, and when the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. Give the dish a final taste before plating up.

 7. Fragrant prawn curry_sauté_prawns cooked

Worth repeating …

 8. Fragrant prawn curry_plate up1

 10. Fragrant prawn curry_plate up3

9. Fragrant prawn curry_plate up2

This fragrant prawn curry was so good that I will definitely cook it again for sure. It was just perfect the way it should be. I try to avoid using sugar in my curries (which is very common with Thai or Vietnamese curries). I really thought it was not necessary to add sugar as the rich coconut milk gave the dish a subtle sweet taste; furthermore, my other half detests sweet curries.

Oh by the way, both my sons had second helping that day…

Need I say more? 

I rest my case 😉

I am submitting this post to Little Thumbs up with the March 2014 theme using “PRAWNSas the main ingredient hosted by Moon of Food Playground. The LTU blog-hop project is organised by two very talented and superwomen, Doreen from my little favourite DIY and Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids.

 

Have a super week!

 

Cheers!

Early this month, I received a personal message from a blogger friend.  Some readers might know her by her pseudonym; Miss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders.

It was really sweet of Miss B to ask me if I would like to have some of her freshly harvested “Spaanse pepers” or cayenne chillies.  She ended her note with “Can I mail you some?”

Nope, Miss B was not joking!

The chillies arrived in my letterbox one day after Miss B went to the post office! Wow! That really showed the efficiency of the Belgian Post.  Well done!

1. Pandan chix curry_green chillies11. Pandan chix curry_green chillies2

Everything looked, smelled and felt so fresh with those green chillies. They were nicely tucked in a few layers of absorbent papers. I had a few things in mind what I could do with them…

Of cold and heat

In Belgium, the new school (not tertiary) semester started on the first Monday in the month of September, meaning the end of the school summer holidays anno 2013 for my two boys. How they loathed going back to school and facing the early morning wakes and cycling to school in the cold and rain.

September is also the month when the yo-yo effect of the mercury level played havoc with our immune system.  My older son was down with a rather bad cold recently but yet he did not miss any single lesson. Good boy 😉

To prevent further aggravation and spread of the cold to his younger brother and the rest of us, I decided to cook a tasty plate of hot and fragrant chicken curry – a sure way to curb a nasty cold 😉

2. Pandan chicken curry_Far Eastern Odyssey

A Far Eastern Odyssey

I love watching the many food travel episodes of Rick Stein on BBC. Not long ago, I bought a copy of his cookbook – a translated version in Dutch – “Rick Stein Ontdekt De Oriënt” (Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey). His travel escapades included living, eating and cooking with the locals of Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Bali and Bangladesh.

By the way, there was one curry dish that stood high on my to-do list for months already.  It was the Sri Lankan Chicken Curry. I was intrigued by the use of pandan leaves in the curry dish recipe.  Maybe I have eaten curries with pandan that I was not aware of in the past, but for sure, I have never actually used pandan leaves in any of my curry dishes until now 😀

This recipe is adapted from Rick Stein’s Sri Lankan Chicken Curry. I have made some changes and modifications indicated in blue italic.

Ingredients –

(Serves 4 – 5)

  • 2 Tbsp coconut or vegetable oil (I used corn oil)
  • 1.5 kg chicken, cut in 8 parts (I used 1 kg ready-to-use boneless chicken cubes)
  • One 15cm cinnamon stick, broken into smaller bits (the last thing I would do was break the cinnamon bark into tiny bits! My three guys would curse me for that, hence, I left the cinnamon stick whole  )
  • Freshly milled black pepper
  • 10 green cardamom pods, bruised (I used 8 cardamom pods, removed the seeds and ground them with a pestle and mortar)
  • 10 cloves (I used 8 cloves)
  • 350 g onions or shallots, thinly sliced (I used I big onion, blended)
  • 40 g garlic, crushed (I used 8 cloves garlic, blended)
  • 25 g fresh ginger, peeled & grated (I used 5 cm piece ginger, blended)
  • 2 Tbsp Roasted Sri Lankan Chicken Curry powder (I used Yeo’s Malaysian curry powder, which included the following ingredients: coriander seed, chilli, fennel, cumin, turmeric, white pepper, aniseed, cinnamon and clove)
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder (I used 2 heap tsp of  Mum’s homemade chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder (I used a 4 cm piece of fresh turmeric, blended)
  • 200 g tin tomato (I used 4 fresh tomatoes, quartered)
  • 20 curry leaves (I used dried curry leaves)
  • 4×4 cm pandan leaves (I used 4 long sprays of screwpine or pandan leaves)
  • 1 fat lemongrass stalk, halved & lightly bruised (I used 2 stalks of lemon grass, lightly bruised, plus 1 stalk, blended)
  • 3 green cayenne chillies, split open lengthways (I used 8 fresh green chillies which I got from Miss B, blended, plus 1 extra split open lengthways)
  • 400 ml coconut milk (Unfortunately, I could not get fresh coconut milk, hence, I used 1 can of 400ml coconut milk)
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice (I used 1 Tbsp concentrated tamarind paste)
  • I used Himalayan salt, to taste

Method –

1)      Peel and cut roughly the onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric and lemon grass. Remove the stalks from the green chillies and then blend all these together in a blender to form a paste.

 3. Pandan chix curry_blended ingredients13. Pandan chix curry_blended ingredients2

2)      Heat the oil in a wok or deep frying pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and fry over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

3)      With the oil left over from the pan, sauté the blended paste until fragrant. Add the par cooked chicken cubes, cinnamon stick, freshly ground cardamom seeds, cloves, lemon grass and knotted pandan leaves (Note my wok was smoking away when I took the picture 😀 )

4. Pandan chix curry_sauteéd ingredients

4)      Simmer for a few minutes and add the curry powder, chilli powder, quartered tomatoes, coconut milk and one green chilli, slit open lengthways with seeds intact. Stir to combine and continue to simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, covered, over low to medium heat. Season to taste.

5. Pandan chix curry_seasoned15. Pandan chix curry_seasoned25. Pandan chix curry_seasoned3

5)      While the chicken was simmering away, I steamed the pandan-infused jasmin rice (I ran out of basmati rice)

 6. Pandan chix curry_panda rice

6)      Five minutes before plating up the fragrant pandan chicken curry, I added the tamarind paste.

The tamarind paste and pandan leaves made all the difference to this dish.  I swear it was a top notch chicken curry, quite unlike the ones I have tasted.  It was really quite addictive, I must say.

Pandan Chicken Curry served in an earthenware pot – tagine! A Sri Lankan dish served in a Moroccan tagine by a Malaysian in Belgium. What a global dish! LOL!

Pandan Chicken Curry served in an earthenware pot – tagine! A Sri Lankan dish served in a Moroccan tagine by a Malaysian in Belgium. What a global dish! LOL!

Our Sunday lunch :-D

Our Sunday lunch 😀

Closed up of the fragrant pandan chicken curry – on my plate ;-)

Closed up of the fragrant pandan chicken curry – on my plate 😉

What was left here went in my lunchbox the next day

What was left here went in my lunchbox the next day

My lunchbox – the day after!  YUMMY :-P

My lunchbox – the day after! YUMMY 😛

Oh by the way, my son’s cold was long gone. It could be that he ate one whole raw green chilli! I’m not kidding here.

Summary facts about green chillies (searched from the internet) –

  • Green chillies are a good source of Vitamins A, C, K and Capsaicin
  • Green chillies are actually immature chilli peppers, harvested before fully ripening.  That accounted to the green chillies turning red in my fridge after one week!
  • Green chillies are low in calories, virtually fat-free and rich in nutrients.

 Vitamin A is essential for the health and maintenance of red blood cells, necessary for proper growth and development and to support immune system health.

 Vitamin C helps synthesize collagen, promote the healing of skin wounds and aid in the development of strong bones.

 Vitamin K in green chillies may help decrease your risk of osteoporosis and of heavy bleeding.

 Capsaicin is the substance that occurs naturally in chillies, giving them their spicy flavour, meaning the hotter the chilli, the more capsaicin it contains. Capsaicin acts as a natural pain reliever.

 Note: If you have a chronic digestive disorder, for example irritable bowel syndrome or heartburn, spicy foods may exacerbate the symptoms, so please stay away…

Pandan leaves are not only used as fragrant aromatic agents or natural food colourants, but are also used for myriads of health benefits.  It’s interesting to know after googling the web that these amazing screw pines can be used as a cosmetic and natural medicine such as darkening our grey hairs, warding off dandruffs, improving rheumatism and muscle pains by concocting a massage ointment using pandan leaves, etc..

Oh by the way, if you have forgotten how these stunning wonder plant look like, here you go … again!!

3a. Sago Pudding_pandan13b. Sago Pudding_pandan2 

I’m linking this post to the following events –

1. Little Thumbs up event with the September theme “PANDAN”, hosted by Joceline from Butter, Flour and Me, organized by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids.

th_littlethumbups1-1

2. Cook-Your-Books #4 organized by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours

Cook Your Books

3. Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads   – By the way, this dish was cooked over the weekend, hence, I think I’m (still) qualified for this event – hopefully 😉

Weekend Cooking

4. September 2013 Cooking With Herbs Blog Challenge hosted by Lavender and Lovage

Cooking-with-Herbs-300x252

Stay well! Stay healthy!

See you soon…

Cheers!

Related reading –

Beef Rendang-by special request

A Summer in Saint Rémy-de-Provence

A Summer in Saint Rémy-de-Provence

As if there are no other holiday destinations – but really – we have been to France, in particular, southern France so many times that we could memorize some places along the road and highway quite well. Although we do not tend to visit the same place twice, we seemed to be re-visiting Saint Rémy-de-Provence quite often, at least four times since 2006!

We enjoyed the lovely Mediterranean temperatures that were not overly hot (August), the colours, the smell, la cuisine provençale (the Provencal dishes) and the many walking trails.

Last summer, I spiced up our Provencal holiday with this simple dish, which was… erm… planned at the eleventh hour

Baba's chicken curry with chickpeas served with stir fried chinese cabbage and steamed basmati rice

Baba’s chicken curry with chickpeas served with stir fried chinese cabbage and steamed basmati rice

The spice that bites the dust?

Well, almost 🙂

Actually, I got 4 packets of Baba ’s curry powder (2 meat curry powder and 2 fish curry powder) from a girlfriend who was going back to Kuching for her holiday and at the same time planning to replenish her kitchen pantry with new inventories. Lucky girl (if you are reading this post, kam sia, my dear):-D

Well, a month more to shelf life was not that bad. We left for Saint Rémy-de-Provence in the 2nd week of August and the curry powder expired in September. Perfect timing so to speak!

The White House

For the subsequent 2 weeks, we stayed in a lovely holiday cottage, owned by an English couple – La Maison Blanche (The White House). By the way, there were and are many English speaking ‘locals’ in Saint Rémy-de-Provence 😀

3. Baba's curry_La Maison Blanche

This was the kitchen that became my Provencal domain last summer *wink*

4. Baba's curry_French kitchen

While the guys were watching the 2012 Summer Olympics on the telly, the lady of the house (ahem!) slogged away in the kitchen with her creative throw-in-the-pot chicken curry soup dish. LOL!

WYSIWYG

That’s right, what you see is what you get!

These were the main ingredients I used to cook my curry dish.

5a. Baba's curry_ingredients15b. Baba's curry_ingredients2

You need the following –

(Serves 4-6)

4 chicken breasts (ca 695 gm)

2 small packets Baba’s meat curry powder

8 potatoes, halved

1 onion, chopped

Garlic – I used 4 cloves, minced with coarse sea salt

4 cm piece ginger, grated

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise

3 cloves

6 dried chillies

2 green cardamoms, crushed

1 tsp fennel seeds

Curry leaves (I used the dried ones)

1 tomato (chopped)

Salt, to taste ( I also added 2 chicken stock cubes)

Black pepper, to taste (not in the picture)

1 can chickpeas

Cooking oil (I used olive oil)

2 x 125 gm tub plain yoghurt (not in the picture) – I did not use coconut milk

Water

If you are wondering – yes – the spices ‘followed’ us all the way on the road for some 975 km! As I said earlier, it was a “planned but last minute packing” 😉

Method –

Very simple. Sauté the chopped onion, minced garlic and grated ginger until fragrant; add in the cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, cardamoms and fennel seeds, stir frying for one minute before adding the chicken slices, yoghurt and chopped tomatoes. Add water, chickpeas, potatoes, dried chillies, salt and pepper to taste and finally the curry powder.

6. Baba's curry_curry mix

Mix well to combine the curried mixture. Simmer until the chicken pieces and potatoes are cooked and season to taste before serving. As you can see, my Provencal curry was not made the traditional way as far as sight (visual) is concerned, but the taste was 100% curry. My guys like their curries a bit soupy. I served the curry with steamed basmati rice and stir fried Chinese cabbage with green chillies and sun-dried tomatoes.

7a Baba's curry_curry chix soup7b. Baba's curry_closed-up

7c. Baba's curry_chix curry + basmati rice + chinese cabbage

By the way, curry has never tasted so good. I daresay, it was YUMMY 😉

Market Day

I love Wednesdays at Saint Rémy-de-Provence because it’s market day!!

The colours, the smell and the sights were just amazing….

8a. Wednesday  Market St Remy de Provence_Lavender8b. Wednesday Market St Remy de Provence_Straw bags8c. Wednesday Market St Remy de Provence_Garlics8d. Wednesday Market St Remy de Provence_Confituur8e. Wednesday Market St Remy de Provence_Fruits8f. Wednesday Market St Remy de Provence_Spices8g. Wednesday Market St Remy de Provence_Wines8h. Wednesday Market St Remy de Provence_Cheeses8i. Wednesday Market St Remy de Provence_Savon de Marseille8j. Wednesday Market St Remy de Provence_Canned drinks craftworkPicture 339 (Large)Wed mkt at St Remy de Provence_porky

Oh by the way, did you know that Saint-Rémy-de-Provence was the birthplace of Michel de Nostredame, better known as Nostradamus, the 16th century author of prophecies? We visited his birthplace which was not far from the Market square.

9a. St Remy de Provence_Nostradamus19b. St Remy de Provence_Nostradamus2

The Dutch painter, Vincent Van Gogh was voluntarily confined and treated in the Asylum of Saint-Paul de Mausole, near Saint-Rémy. It was here that he painted the two most remarkable works: Starry Night and Self Portrait.

Self Portrait

Self Portrait

Vincent Van Gogh's Starry nights

During our many visits to the Provence, we have followed the trails of Vincent Van Gogh (including Arles). It was a real eye opener for us. We started to appreciate the man and his works even more.

Mossy Fountain with a spicy end

After spending the entire morning until slightly after noon at the Wednesday Market, we were famished. We drove to Salon-de-Provence, about 32km from Saint Rémy. The most striking landmark – which cannot be missed – in Salon-de-Provence is the Fontaine Moussue (Mossy Fountain), which is the real mascot of the town. Tourists and locals, especially children would throng around the fountain, which looked like a giant moss-covered mushroom 😀

11. Salon-de-Provence_Mossy Fountain

We did not walk very far and sat ourselves at a table for four on the terrace of a nearby restaurant. Strangely, we did not realize that the restaurant was not French. I guess we were too hungry to gallivant any further. The resto– can you believe this – was Indian?! I was over the moon 😀

For a price tag of Eur 20 per person, our meal included a starter, main course and dessert.

12a. Salon-de-Provence_Starter_Veg Pakora, lamb & chix samosas12b. Salon-de-Provence_Main_Lamb tikka12c. Salon-de-Provence_Lamb tikka on the plateLicking our platters cleaned

Conclusion: We licked our platters clean. A bargain meal, worth every penny 😛

A spicy Hat trick

Oh no, not again!

But, oh YES – this post would not be captioned “spicy” summer for nothing. Our curry treats for three consecutive days!

I bought some baguettes, sliced and served them with the leftover curry.

My husband and I had these –

Freshly baked baguettes

Freshly baked baguettes

Sliced baguette - soft and fresh

Sliced baguette – soft and fresh

Leftover curry with sliced baguette - a marriage made in heaven :-P

Leftover curry with sliced baguette – a marriage made in heaven 😛

My sons had equally delicious leftover curry meals, which I added  cooked instant noodles, hard boiled eggs, stir-fried french beans, chopped tomatoes and roasted chicken slices.

My younger son's plate

My younger son’s plate

My older son loves a soupy noodle :-D

My older son loves a soupy noodle 😀

This was one “spicy” summer adventure that will not be easily forgotten 😀

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

By the way, I DID have some free moments.  While the boys patronised the swimming pool almost every day, I read Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s, fantastically intelligent literary thriller, The Angel’s Game. The year before, I read his mind-boggling, complex and absorbing novel, The Shadow of the Wind.  A talented writer.  I was totally gripped and could not put down reading his novels. If you like Dan Brown’s novels, you will like Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s 😉

A Summer in Saint Rémy-de-Provence. The boys enjoying a dip in the pool - EVERYDAY!

A Summer in Saint Rémy-de-Provence. The boys enjoying a dip in the pool – EVERYDAY!

By the way, I finished reading this book in one week ;-)

By the way, I finished reading this book in one week 😉

Have a great weekend.

Cheers!

Related Posts –

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.

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Enjoy the sunny weekend!

Cheers and take care

Related Posts –

After getting a stamp of approval from my three guys for steaming my very first foolproof baos / buns – with success – there was no stopping me.  I steamed some more buns last weekend!

Did I not impart in my endnote, here, that I was a happy BUN-ny? 😀

I made the chicken-filled buns – again – last weekend on the request of my sons.  I thought the equation of steaming more buns meant requiring the consumption of a gigantic portion of chicken meat, hence, I bought a whole rotisserie chicken (kip aan’t spit).  Duh!

Chix pao_Kip aan 't spitWhen I saw how much meat I could fork out from the bird, well, maybe a bit too much for my chicken-filled paos, I had to put Plan B in action. Waste not, want not 😀

2. Curry puffs_ meat removed

I knew immediately what I wanted to make from the balance of the chicken mixture. Yep, curry puffs!!  This is one snack that brings me down memory lane.  I LURVE curry puffs 😀

2z. Curry puffs_curry puffs

Short cut to success

Curry Puff = Curry + Puff

Didn’t I say it’s easy peasy (breezy)?

Okay, I’m cheating here, because I bought two store bought puff pastries, one called ‘bladerdeeg met boter’ (puff pastry with butter) and the other, simply, ‘bladerdeeg’ (puff pastry).  By the way, isn’t butter one of the key ingredients in making puff pastries?  Erm…double dose of Duh’s… LOL!

I bought two different types of puff pastries because I was not sure which of the two puff pastries would engage well with my curry puff recipe.  If one fails, I would not be left in the lurch.

Now, the curry – I used Yeo’s Malaysian Curry Powder. Oh by the way, this was a gift from Chris – all the way from Ohio, USA!   Thank you, my friend.  The crinkled look on the packet means that the curry has not been deserted.  It was used to the fullest 😀

3. Curry puffs_curry powder

Ingredients:-

2 packets store bought puff pastries (makes 20 curry puffs)

Curry powder, to taste – honestly speaking, I used quite a lot, as I love curries 😛

I will omit the measurements in this post because it doesn’t make sense as the curry chicken filling was the leftover of the chicken-mix for my steamed buns. Please hop over here where the more precise ingredients and method can be found prior to adding the curry powderI added dried shiitake mushrooms this time.

Rotisserie chicken (pre-grilled/ pre-roasted/ pre-baked chicken meat or any of your favourite cooked meat!) – Believe you me; pre-cooked meat is a savior to this dish as it cuts a chunk of your cooking time. This statement concurs the ‘hassle-free’ part 😉

Carrot, grated

Spring Onion – cut in small rings

Ginger (I used one whole young ginger, grated)

Garlic, minced with some coarse sea salt

Roots of fresh coriander, minced

Dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes until plumped up

Sesame Oil

Soy sauce (I used Kikkoman soy sauce)

Shaohsing wine (optional – this was used for the steamed buns. Please omit, if you must)

Oyster sauce

White pepper (I added freshly milled black peper)

Sugar – taste for balance

Water and cornflour to thicken the sauce

Vegetable Oil

1egg, beaten – brushed on coating  

4a. Curry puffs_ingredients14b. Curry puffs_ingredients2

Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

Once the chicken mixture is combined, add the curry powder. Stir well; making sure that the chicken mixture is coated completely with the curry powder. Refrigerate until you are ready to handle the puff pastries.

5a. Curry puffs_ingredients35b. Curry puffs_ingredients4

Scoop 1 tea-spoonful of the curry chicken filling onto each dough circle. I used a drinking glass of 8 cm in diameter to mould the circles from the puff pastry.

6. Curry puffs_chix filling

Fold the chicken-filled pastry in half moon and start crimping or pleating the crust. I used the fork crust crimp method. Easy peasy! No hassle.

Finally, bake the curry puffs for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  My kitchen smelled exquisite that Sunday afternoon 😉

By the way, the rope crust crimp method would be really stylish and elegant looking. I tried doing that but most did not turn out with that rope crust crimped effect at all.  I did, however, manage to crimp one which turned out to be one big ugly blob!  I just gave up *sigh*

This was one monster curry puff! My sons said this looked like a dead chicken. LOL!

7. Curry puffs_monster puff

‘Dead chicken’ aside, I did pull some good lookers 😉

Et voilà!

My easy peasy hassle-free curry puffs for any busy full-time working or stay-at-home Mums. Yummilicious!

Curry puffs made with puff pastry with butter

Curry puffs made with puff pastry with butter

The fork crust crimped curry puffs were made with the 'normal' puff pastry

The fork crust crimped curry puffs were made with the ‘normal’ puff pastry

Closed up of the freshly baked curry puffs :-D

Closed up of the freshly baked curry puffs 😀

My Monday morning breakfast.  YUMMY!

My Monday morning breakfast. YUMMY!

By the way, do you remember these?

9a, Curry puffs_cross-section19b. Curry puffs_cross-section2

That’s the cross-section of the once-upon-a-time ugly blob!  As a saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”…

I rest my case  😉 

I am submitting this entry to the 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

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As well as to the September 2013 Cooking With Herbs Blog Challenge hosted by Lavender and Lovage

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Cheers and carry on curry-ing!