Chicken Kapitan Curry

Malaysian restaurants are common in Australia and New Zealand and I got a bit of a taste for Kapitan Curry otherwise known as Chicken Kapitan Curry. Kapitan Curry is a Nonya / Straights Chinese dish. This is a dry curry lacks the gravy of the Malaysian Chicken Curry.

Chicken Kapitan Curry
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Ingredients for Spice Mix
  1. 160 grams (1 large) onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  2. 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  3. 1.5 cm chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  4. 3 teaspoons of chilli powder or 5 dried red chillies (soaked) or 3 fresh chillies
  5. (seeded and chopped)
  6. 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  7. 15 grams of raw nuts1 or just peanut butter
  8. 3 stalks of lemon grass, trimmed, with outer leaves removed, and sliced, or
  9. zest of one lime/lemon
  10. 2 teaspoons dried shrimp paste
  11. [Optional] 1 teaspoon chopped galangal
  12. [Optional] 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  13. [Optional] 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  14. [Optional] 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  15. [Optional] 1/6 teaspoon ground cardamon
  16. Oil or water
Other ingredients
  1. 160 grams onions (1 large) or shallots (8), thinly sliced
  2. Salt
  3. 2 or 3 tablespoons Peanut (Groundnut) Oil
  4. Another 2 or 3 tablespoons Peanut (Groundnut) Oil
  5. 800 grams fresh chicken pieces (legs, drumsticks, thighs, whatever)
  6. [Optional] 3-4 pieces Kaffir lime leaves, fresh or soaked
  7. [Optional] 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  8. 1 cup thin coconut milk (or 3/4 cup of water)
  9. [Optional] 1/3 cup lime juice or tamarind juice2
  10. Salt and pepper
  11. 1/2 cup thick coconut milk (or 3/4 cup if used water instead of thin coconut milk above)
  1. Heat 2 or 3 tablespoons oil in a wok on high then lower to medium heat
  2. Add onion or shallots and salt
  3. Brown well. Drain on paper towels. Put aside for later
  4. Blend spice paste ingredients using a little oil or water to moisten, then set aside
  5. Heat 2 or 3 more tablespoons oil in a wok (or heavy pot) on high then lower to medium heat
  6. Add spice paste to the wok
  7. Stir fry until spice paste is toasted - should be aromatic - do not burn
  8. Add chicken, lime leaves and sugar to wok
  9. Stir to coat chicken with curry paste (about 3-5 mins)
  10. Add thin coconut milk and lime juice to to wok, stir, and season
  11. Bring to boil
  12. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer chicken in coconut milk for 20 min, stirring occasionally
  13. Add thick coconut milk, simmer uncovered, 10-15 min until chicken tender and gravy thickens
  14. Transfer to serving dice
  15. Garnish chicken with fried onion or shallots
  1. (1) The most authentic are Candle nuts but I've never seen them for sale in the UK. Substitutes are Macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, Cashews, or blanched Almonds. Candle nuts are toxic unless cooked well.
  2. (2) For 1/3 cup of tamarind juice, soak 1 teaspoon pulp with 1/3 cup of hot water for 5 min, mash, and strain
  3. Serve with Roti or steamed rice
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