This month marks my and Ann from Grubbs n Critters‘ one year Monthly Mystery Munchies anniversary, and what a pleasure it has been! I’ve been challenged to create new recipes by thinking outside the box, pushing my gastronomical boundaries, and devising new ways of cooking, tasting and thinking about food. It’s been a tasty treat for sure, and I’ve had an immense amount of fun doing it. Happy one year anniversary Ann, and thank you for coming up with this fabulous idea! This has tremendously broadened my horizons (and waistline, but oh well).
This month we did a culture swap. You see, Ann is originally from Singapore, although she’s been living in Thailand for over a decade, and she’s about to move to Holland. Sheesh, busy times! I’m from South Africa, no exciting worldly experiences for me. What a pleb. However, we have so many different cultures here, and thus so many different influences, one of them being Malay. I love curry! I mean, I’m obsessed. So when Ann suggested we ‘swap’ countries, I was thrilled. Just one thing: there’s a lot of food commonly used in Singaporean dishes that we don’t have here. Crap. Not to worry, I found a spice shop close by. Some women spend hours shopping for (faffing over) clothes, shoes, accessories, whatever. I, on the other hand, can easily get lost in a food shop. I was totally enthralled. The Husband wasn’t eager to spend hours there (his loss), so I grabbed the stuff I needed and promised to return. Probably on my own. With his credit card.
Back to my Singaporean dish – behold Ayam Kapitan. Yeah, I also had no clue. Turns out it’s a chicken curry, using interesting and exciting ingredients, some of which I wouldn’t usually use. Some of the ingredients I already had in my cupboard, others required a slight search. No worries, I enjoy a challenge. This dish uses some of my favouritist (that’s a word, ‘kay?) food – oh hi garlic, ginger, coconut cream, lemon grass (homegrown in my very own garden, no less) – basically I love every single ingredient. I’d never cooked with tamarind paste before, so that was an intriguing experience. I mean, I felt so *exotic*! Anyways folks, this dish is absolutely delectable. It perfectly fuses all of the ingredients to create a creamy, spicy (but not too hot), citrus-y beauty of a meal. By The Husband’s instruction (sometimes I allow him to think he has a say), I will be cooking this meal again. And again, and again, and then again. Here you go:
Ayam Kapitan (Captain's Chicken Curry)
1 teaspoons tamarind paste
1 red onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 green chillies (I leave the seeds in)
3 tablespoons macadamia nuts
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chicken stock
3 tablespoons lemon grass stalks
4 lime leaves
1 tin (400ml) coconut cream
1/2 tin (200ml) coconut milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
Freshly cracked sea salt and black pepper
Coriander to serve (optional)
Making It Happen:
1. In a blender, blitz the tamarind paste, onion, leeks, garlic, ginger, chillies, 1 tablespoon macadamia nuts, turmeric, and chicken stock, to form a paste. Add the coconut cream and give it one last blitz. Pour the mixture over the chicken, marinating it for an hour (or overnight).
3. Pour in the remaining marinade over the chicken and add the coconut milk and cinnamon stick. Cover and boil for 5 minutes, then turn down the heat and partially cover, simmering for 45 minutes – 1 hour until the chicken is tender. Season with salt and pepper and serve on a bed of rice. Garnish with macadamia nuts and coriander.