It’s no secret that I love Malaysian and Singaporean food. Chicken Curry Kapitan is another favourite dish that finds it’s way onto the menu quite often.
The best version I ever had, and have never come close to reproducing, was cooked for us on a trip to Penang. The cook was monty’s family amah back when he was posted in Butterworth with the Australian Airforce. This beautiful, generous woman of Indian origins, invited us for a home cooked meal that was one of the highlights of that trip. And, that’s really saying something – Penang is a foodie paradise.
Most weeknights when I go to make this dish I am missing something… it might be the Asian shallots, or fresh turmeric, or even the potatoes. It probably should have some lemongrass in the spice paste. It doesn’t seem to matter too much. It’s a very forgiving dish. Please feel free to make your own adjustments to my recipe. Some of the Curry Kapitan recipes I have read call for 15 red chillis! + soaked dried chilli! I don’t mind admitting that we just don’t have that level of chilli tolerance. Cook to suit yourself. It’s better than not cooking at all 🙂
This is my version of Chicken Curry Kapitan
Using the mortar and pestle, I ground/smashed together the following:
3 red chillies
3 cloves of garlic
15 small, purple Asian shallots
about 15 cashew nuts. Candlenuts would normally be used. They add texture and thicken the sauce. No candlenuts? Use macadamias. I didn’t have those either so I used cashews 🙂 It worked out fine.
a piece of belacan – I used about a large teaspoon worth; sliced off the block. Belacan is a bit stinky in the raw state. I keep mine in a ziploc bag in the fridge. After a while though you really don’t mind the smell at all and it adds a delicious indefinable element to the curry. BTW: The c is pronounced as ch in Bahasa Malay.
I scooped up the paste and gently fried it in a tablespoon of oil.
When it was aromatic I added 1 chopped red onion, 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds, 4 cardamom pods:gently bruised but left whole, and about 10 dried curry leaves.
Then I added:
450g chicken thigh fillet (this was how much was in the pack) I cut them in half only. I prefer large pieces and it doesn’t have a chance to break up during the cooking
2 large potatoes. Peeled and each cut into 6 wedges
They got a good stir around in the spice mix before I added the remainder of a jar of yellow curry paste. You could add a tablespoon or so of your favourite paste or powder at this stage. I mixed the yellow curry paste with a bit of coconut milk in the jar to make it easier to get all of it out.
Then I added a can (about 400mls) of coconut milk and some salt to taste, along with 1 teaspoon of sugar.
At this point the curry was left to simmer on a medium heat until the chicken and potato was cooked and the sauce had reduced and thickened. It took about 40 minutes.
I served it with this rice:
Pandan leaves and turmeric flavoured Basmati rice to perfection.