Saturday, November 03, 2012

Chicken Curry Kapitan

Chicken Curry Kapitan by Taking5
Chicken Curry Kapitan, a photo by Taking5 on Flickr
After my visit to Penang, I felt inspired to post up this yummy recipe for Curry Kapitan. 

This chicken dish is a Nonya/Eurasian favourite. According to tradition, the dish got its name when the British/Baba towkay (whichever it was is lost in the mists of time) was asking what was for dinner and the cook replied, "Curry, Capitan".  "Capitan" of course is a sort of derivation from "Captain" and the title was not confined just to military captains, or ship captains, but to the representatives of the trading companies and wealthy Chinese merchants.

I particularly like the recipe in my Penang recipe book, "Nonya Flavours".  So does my extended family - my aunt was even so kind as to liken it to her mother's (ie my grandmother's) version, the highest praise I could hope for.


1 kg chicken
1 tbsp turmeric powder.

Spice paste:
10-15 shallots
2 cloves garlic
2cm ginger
2cm galangal
2 stalks lemongrass (use the white portion of the stem)
3 candle nuts
1 tbsp turmeric powder
2-3 fresh red chillis (as desired)
5-6 dried chillis (as desired)
1 tbsp belacan, toasted

1 200ml packet of coconut cream
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp shredded lime leaf
2 tbsp lime juice

Fried shallots or more shredded lime leaves to garnish

1. Marinate the chicken with turmeric powder and salt.  Leave overnight (or for a few hours, which is what I do).  Fry till nicely browned.  Set aside.
2.  Blend spice paste ingredients, fry till fragrant.  Add some of the coconut and fry till it cracks.  Add the chicken and fry together for 5-10 minutes.
3.  Add the remaining coconut milk, water, sugar, lime leaf and cook till chicken is tender.  Add lime leaf, check the seasoning.
4.  Serve garnished with fried shallots or shredded lime leaf or both!

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