I like big cooking vessels. Give me a 13-inch cast-iron frying pan over a little omelet pan any day of the week. How about a 12-quart stock pot to make squash soup or a batch of turkey stock after Thanksgiving? My most recent acquisition was a nice big Dutch oven, suitable for cooking big meals that yield some leftovers.
My initial experiences preparing curries used recipes from 1970s-era vegetarian cookbooks. You guessed it…. earth shoes; “far out, man” and grocery store “curry powder” concocted from who knows what. I’ve learned a bit since then, but a consistently good curry is like consistently good bread: hard to perfect. Each time I go into the kitchen, I make small adjustments .
Having cooked some dependable but not exciting vegetarian curries for my family, I was stoked to find a chicken curry recipe on Taste Hong Kong, a blogger in… you guessed it… Hong Kong. As you read this blog, the writer’s enthusiasm for cooking spills out on to the page. In the future, I intend to check out additional recipes from here.
This is modified somewhat from the original. Living in the U.S., I converted the metric measurements of some ingredients to English. Some ingredients I fudged or modified: For instance, because my wife wishes to avoid sugar, I use agave nectar. Instead of curry powder, I bought Panang curry paste from an Asian grocery. Adding chicken stock and water. Instead of bird eye peppers, I used dried arbol chiles as that’s what I have on hand.
The original recipe calls for “seasoning or marinade for chicken and potatoes.” I opted for mix a teaspoon of ras al hanout and a teaspoon of curry powder and rub it on the chicken before chopping up the other ingredients.
Mise en place is key to putting this meal together. Give yourself about two hours, it’ll be well worth the effort.
- Panang curry paste, thinned to a sauce consistency with chicken stock and water to about 5 tbs total
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 6 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 cup chopped red onion
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp chopped ginger
- 1 dried arbol chile, minced; include the seeds
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 tsp agave syrup (or 1 tbsp turbinado sugar)
- 1 cup water
- 1 lb. chicken, thighs or breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1.5 lb potatoes, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
- 1 cup chopped carrot
- 1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
- seasoning or marinade for chicken – your choice
Rub the chicken with spices, or marinate if you prefer, and set aside in the refrigerator. Place 2 – 3 tablespoons of Panang curry paste in a small bowl. Whisk in enough chicken stock or water to yield 5 heaping tablespoons in a consistency more like a sauce.
Chop the onion, shallots and garlic. Peel and chop the celery, carrots and potatoes.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven. Add the curry paste you’ve thinned, turmeric and paprika. Stir to incorporate with the oil and cook for a few minutes. Add the shallots, onion and garlic, stir well, and simmer until the various onions are soft.
Add the ginger, pepper and coconut milk. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes; then add water and agave syrup or sugar. Bring to a boil. Place chicken, potatoes and carrots in the pot; reduce heat and cook, covered, until done; this should take 15 – 20 minutes. Garnish with celery. Serve wth rice or quinoa and a big salad and enjoy.