Monday, September 27, 2010

Singapore Indian Curry

I saw this on one of the chinese recipe magazines that my sister got for free in Singapore. I mean you have to buy it, it cost SGD5 or something but I think she got it for free. I am not sure if anybody has heard of it, it is called “色香味”。Anyway, there was an interesting recipe for "Indian Curry", contributed by a singaporean chinese lady married to a indian husband, and this recipe was from her mother-in-law. I have cooked chinese style or malay style curry chicken and beef rendang many times in Belgium, but I have never tried indian style curry before. So this recipe had been on my to-do list for quite some time, and I decided to give it a try yesterday. 

Judging from the recipe, it is supposed to be south indian curry, instead of north indian curry. The steps are not much different from how I would normally cook curry. Usually I would just add onions, shallots, garlic, ginger, curry powder, chopped chillies, coconut milk and meat, sometimes lemongrass and blue ginger to give that extra kick. But there are extra spices such as cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamons and curry leaves in this recipe. Quite interesting.

I especially got my cloves and cardamons from the thai supermarket in Antwerp Chinatown, just for cooking this curry.The cardamons gave the curry a special fragrance, it's hard to describe, you have to try it then you will know. 

I used beef stew meat because we had been eating chicken for a few days in a row. Although I would have to stew the beef for at least 1.5 hours, but no time was wasted as I quickly made some chinese buns or mantou (馒头) to go with the curry. The curry was of course a success, having cooked curry so many times I could close my eyes and do it, but the chinese mantou was a different story. I would talk about it in another post. :)

Recipe adapted from “色香味”

INGREDIENTS (for 3 persons)

4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick (肉桂棒)
4 cloves (丁香)
4 cardamons (豆蔻)
2 big onions, julienned
3 shallots, julienned

1 thumb of ginger, pounded
6 cloves of garlic, pounded

2 tbsp curry powder/curry paste
1 tbsp chilli powder (optional)

600g chicken or beef, chopped into small pieces
2 medium potatoes, quartered
1 carrot, chopped into small pieces
1 can of coconut milk + enough water to cover surface *

2 curry leaves (I didn't have any)
2 medium tomatoes, quartered
salt to taste

1. Heat oil in wok. Add cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamon, onions, shallots and saute til transparent.

2. Add in pounded ingredients (ginger and garlic) and fry til fragrant. Add in curry powder/paste (and chilli powder if your curry powder/paste is not strong enough) and mix well.

3. Add a cup of water to the pan and stir well, to prevent the curry paste from sticking to the pan. Then add in the chicken cubes (or beef cubes), potatoes and carrots. Followed by the coconut milk. Throw in the curry leaves if you have any. Make sure the water + coconut milk is enough to cover the surface. Stir well and bring everything to a boil.

4. After boiling, quickly lower the fire,cover the pan, and let the curry simmer for at least 30 min (for curry chicken). If you are using beef stew meat to cook curry beef/beef rendang, it is recommended that you let the beef simmer for at least 1.5 hours for it to be really tender. During stewing, part of the liquid will be evaporated especially if you stew for 1-2 hours, so make sure there is more than sufficient water + coconut milk to cover the surface of the meat and vegetables, taking into account the evaporation. 

5. Just before serving, add in the cut tomatoes and let it cook for a further 5-10 min. It is better to add tomatoes towards the end, otherwise the tomatoes will be too soft and soggy, and you won't be able to see the tomatoes.

6. Finally remove from heat and serve the curry immediately with steamed white rice, or chinese mantou (馒头).

*Note: The reason why I never state the exact amount of liquid to add, is because you would have to adjust the curry to your taste. It also depends on how much meat and vegetables you are adding, and how long you are stewing the meat. As a rule of thumb, I add about 500ml of water and coconut milk in total, just enough to be 1 cm or so above the surface. Some people like it thick and spicy while others like it not so spicy. So always add a little water or coconut milk first, then check the taste, and if it is too spicy, top up with more water or coconut milk.

1 comment:

  1. Hello:
    Six cloves of garlic and a thumb of ginger for a serving for 3 people sounds too strong. I'd halve these quantities. Also cardamoms are strong so just two of them, split, would be not over powering..
    I'd also recommend adding a teaspoon of dry, whole or milled, coriander to this recipe.

    A Pakistani cook


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