Ever since I wasn’t able to buy Lee Kum Kee’s Portugese curry sauce about two years ago (I forget when), I stopped making curries. A dish that I would have made roughly once a month, I completely stopped doing them. It sounds bizarre, but without LKK’s Portugese curry sauce, a curry wasn’t a curry — despite all spices, the red and green curry pastes out there. It was a time before I really knew about food. Then, last year, having plenty of spare afternoons I got into watching cooking shows, and on cooking shows, they tend to make curries, and they make them using everything but LKK’s Portugese curry sauce. Watching them make it, and hearing them them talk about it (as much as they were likely to be inflating how great it was) was enough to get me into cooking curries again, and since then curries have been put back on the dinner menu.
Green chicken curry
(The amounts in this recipe are rough estimates as I usually make my meals off the cuff, though I’d say they are relatively good estimates.)
- 400g chicken thigh, cut into roughly 2cm pieces
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch, optional
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium brown onion, sliced
- 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1.5 cm pieces
- 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoon green curry paste
- 300 mL coconut milk
- 200 mL chicken stock
- bit of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of chilli oil or chilli flakes (as I like a bit more kick in my curries)
- Marinade chicken in soy sauce, salt and pepper for about 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, fill a medium pot with cold water and place potatoes and carrots into the pot. Bring the pot to a boil and turn the heat down so that it is just simmering. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking. Simmer for 15 minutes, drain and set aside.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan on med-high heat, add the oil and swirl around to coat the pan.
- (Add the cornstarch, if using, to the chicken)
- Add the curry paste, being careful as it can splatter, and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the chicken and let it seal on both sides.
- Add the onions, and once the onions have softened slightly, add the coconut milk and stock.
- Add the drained potatoes and carrots, and bring to a simmer. Add about a teaspoon of sugar and the chilli oil or chilli flakes.
- Cooking for another 10-15 minutes to allow the flavours to develop. Serve with steamed rice.
According to the cooking shows I watch, the purpose of frying off the curry paste is so that the fat from the paste is separated and floats to the top, thereby allowing the spices that are in the paste to get cooked and therefore to really come out with a punch. As with the sugar, I’ve always been told by my mum that sugar enhances and complements a curry, the chemical basis for which I don’t know but I guess it would not be unlike the pairing of salt with chocolate.
This has become my standard recipe for a quick midweek curry and usually makes enough to last me for 3-4 meals. Like all curries and foods packed with a myriad of flavours, with each day, the dish becomes more flavoursome. The photo doesn’t do it justice to the intensity of flavour this dish has — when I go around to making it again, I might take another photograph of it.