Kurry Kapitan (Captain's Curry)

Ingredients :
  • 1.5kg Chicken, cut into chunks
  • 750ml Coconut milk
  • 125ml Tamarind water (from tamarind pulp soaked in warm water, strained). I have access to both sweet and sour Tamarind and chose to use the sour Tamarind. I think that to use the sweet kind ( the most common) would work as well with a very smooth end to the dish. The sour gave a delightful cut finish with a clear palate to finish.
  • 1/2 Fresh coconut, grated
  • 5 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 1 piece Cinnamon bark, 2.5cm
  • - Salt
Spice ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp Coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp         Nutmeg
  • 2 tsp         Cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds
  • 1 piece Star anise, whole
  • 2 pieces Cardamom pods
  • 10 pieces Dried chillies, seeded and soaked in warm water, softened, squeezed
  • 4 cloves Garlic, sliced
  • 10 stalks Shallots, sliced
  • 1 piece Fresh turmeric, 2 - 3 cm, chopped
  • 1 piece Fresh ginger, 2 - 3 cm, chopped
  • 1 piece Dried shrimp paste, 1 - 2 cm slice
  • -         Fried onion flakes
  • -         Fresh chillies, cut thinly

Method :

  1. Prepare the spice paste by grinding all the dry spices in a powder, and then mash the wet spices to a paste, adding the ground dry spices last.
  2. Heat a wok and dry fry the grated coconut until it is lightly browned, then pound it in a mortar until it is the colour and consistency of brown sugar. This is called kerisik.
  3. Heat oil in a wok and stir-fry the spice paste until the fragrance emerge, adding a little water to prevent it from burning.
  4. Add in the chicken chunks and stir to coat the spice paste evenly for approx. 2 minutes.
  5. Pour in the coconut milk, tamarind water and cinnamon bark and allow to simmer uncovered until the chicken is tender.
  6. Add in the 'kerisik' and adjust the salt to taste and continue to cook until the gravy is thick.
  7. Serve in a large bowl, and garnish with fried onion flakes and chilli slices.
After enjoying this dish a number of times and always having a small amount in excess I kept that overnight and heated it again for another meal subsequently. The taste had changed and in fact the flavour had improved from wonderful to outstanding. I now always prepare at least double the amount and enjoy second and subsequent meals of this dish. It freezes very well and is in fact a dish that improves with delayed eating