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Chapter:Chicken Recipes: Stove Top
Section:Curried
Recipe:Coconut Milk Chicken Curry (Gulai Ayam)
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Coconut Milk Chicken Curry (Gulai Ayam)
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Penang, Malaysia (Nyonya)

    900 g  Chicken pieces; OR
    675 g  Chicken, boneless
      1 tb Oil
      2    Lemon grass stalks; I subbed
    1/2 ts Lemon grass, powdered
      8 oz Coconut milk
      1 c  Water
      2 ts Salt
      6 oz Coconut milk

REMPEH (Curry Paste)
      4    Chiles, red; dried; I subbed
      1 ts Chile paste
      1    Cinnamon stick; 2", I subbed
    1/2 ts Cinnamon, ground
      4    Cloves; I substituted
      2 ds Cloves, ground
      2 tb Coriander seed; I subbed
    1/2 tb Coriander, ground
      1 tb Cumin seed; I substituted
    1/4 tb Cumin, ground
      1 ts Fennel seed
    1/2 ts Turmeric
    225 g  Shallots; peeled
      1    Ginger, fresh; 1" piece: but
    1/2 ts Ginger, ground;is what Iused
      2 lg Garlic cloves, crushed
      5    Macadamia nuts;or candlenuts

Optional
    450 g  Okra

Soak chiles in warm water 10-15 minutes. Peel and finely chop ginger.
Drain chiles and remove hard stems. Remove skin from chicken. Rinse
chicken and chop with heavy cleaver into roughly 2" chunks. Cut lemon
grass into 2" lengths and flatten with side of heavy knife.

In small heavy skillet, dry-roast cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin,
and fennel over medium heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2-3
minutes. Remove from heat and pound until very fine, using mortar and
pestle, or grind very fine in spice mill. Add turmeric and set
aside. Grind drained chiles, shallots, ginger, garlic, and nuts to
paste in food processor.

Heat oil in large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chile
paste and fry 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add dried spice
mixture and fry another minute, stirring constantly. Add chicken
pieces and turn until chicken is well coated with curry paste. Add
lemon grass, then add coconut milk and water. Bring to boil, then
cover and simmer over medium heat until chicken is tender,
approximately 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Boneless chicken
will cook in about 30 minutes.)

Add salt and remaining coconut milk and cook 5 minutes longer. Serve
hot with Lacy Coconut Milk Pancakes and sliced cucumbers.`

Alternatives: Gulai ayam is occasionally made with the addition of
potatoes or okra. Potatoes are cut into 1/2" cubes; okra are left
whole. Add with coconut milk and water.

Sylvia's comments: I'm a lazy American, I couldn't see the point of
using whole spices if I was just going to have to grind them. I
replaced them with the indicated amounts of ground spices. Warning:
roasting cinnamon produces very aromatic oils! The back of my throat
reacted quite strongly. I substituted blanched almonds for the
macadamias, which I didn't have. Something produced a bitter taste
that I did not care for. I cut the water in half and would suggest
skipping it completely unless you want a curry soup. Boneless
chicken doesn't take anywhere NEAR 30 minutes! This had a lovely
color and the sauce was great to dip the coconut milk pancakes or
other bread into. I'd like to get rid of that bitter flavor and
increase the chile paste next time, it was still a bit bland but the
coconut milk taste completely disappeared. It also required too much
equipment: small cast-iron skillet, bowl, small food processor,
cutting board, big skillet for cooking.

Typed by Sylvia Steiger, SylviaRN (at) CompuServe (dot) com
From: Henning Sponbiel in rec.food.cooking on Feb 16, 2000.
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