A recent trip to the nearby oriental supermarket "inspired" Justin to make a dinner. In fact, he was sooooo enthused that he asked when was the next time he will be cooking. Well, today was that day, hehe. What inspired him so much? Well, a can of coconut milk - with a recipe at the back. Sounds good to me! So... here we go!
What you need:
500g chicken breasts/thighs
400ml coconut milk
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 onion, sliced
30g ground almonds
1 tablespoon ground coriander
3 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 stems lemon grass, trimmed and fleshy part bruised
3 teaspoons lemon/lime juice (substituted from 3 lime leaves)
2 curry leaves (substituted from 2 bay leaves)
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt, to taste
What you do:
- Grind the garlic, onion, almonds and corainder to a fine paste.
- Heat the oil and fry the paste to bring out the flavour. Do not allow to brown.
- Add the chicken, ginger, lemon grass, lemon juice and curry leaves, salt, sugar and coconut milk, and bring to boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes without cover until the chicken is tender and the coconut sauce has reduced to desired consistency. Serve sprinkled with crispy fried onions.
But, Justin's face fell when he took a look at the simmering pot. I don't know what it was we were expecting, but the sauce was very very white. Yes, I know. Coconut milk = white, duh! We just thought that maybe it has magically transformed into a creamy brown sauce. Nope. The smell was deceiving. It was a pure white. :(
After an exchange of looks between the four of us, Justin was finally brave enough to try a teaspoon of it - and immediately stated that I would hate tonight's dinner. Fair enough, I already told him that I really don't like coconut. But then, he went on to say that *everyone* wouldn't like tonight's dinner. And we are the house that ate Hadi's Chicken of Death as well as the Chicken Cake. We really didn't believe that anything could be that bad. Not so soon anyway - it's only been a couple of weeks since Hadi's chicken cake :P Everyone else (except me) had a taste anyway, and pronounced it acceptable. Hadi took the liberty of adding more salt (well, chicken stock), before the chicken was finally pronounced okay to serve.
And how was it? I really didn't think it was that bad! It tasted like a watered down version of its smell, a flavour reminiscent of ayam kurma perhaps, although the colour was a bit too milky. (Justin vehemently denied this - he's a big fan of Malay cooking). But overall, it wasn't bad at all, even for a chicken with a lot of coconut in it. In fact, you could barely taste the coconut at all. Apparently, there was a slight bitter aftertaste to it, but I couldn't taste this at all, although everyone else did. Which is weird, because I really cannot stand anything bitter. Oh well.
Justin, however, remained despondent about his apparent "failure", despite a lot of reassurances from the three of us. I'm not sure why. He didn't know what to expect from the recipe either (and I must say, everyone was pretty surprised at how it turned out). So I present the recipe to you all! :) What do you think of it, and maybe any suggestions on modifying a bit? We don't cook Malay food a lot, although to be fair, the can of coconut milk and probably the recipe came from Sri Lanka. I think its pretty similar (in taste) to Malay cooking anyway. And that is one cuisine that I completely fail at! ;)
Quote of the day: The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star.