Making curry from scratch (not curry powder or bricks) has been a tiny personal dream of mine for quite a while. Now, I will show you my minuscule adventure of my "dream come true".
Step 1: Ingredients
- black pepper
- white pepper
- red chili
- coriander seed
- chicken breast 1 pound
- one can of coconut milk
- 2 potato
- 2 carrots
- one onion
Step 2: Mixing Spices
Grind down any spice not already in powder form; for the garlic, cut and then mash in to paste.
I usually do my portion control by heart, but generally:
Turmeric is the most abundant as it gives the curry its distinctive yellow colour and flavor;
Spiciness should be controlled by proportioning chili and white pepper against the amount of sauce in the end;
Cloves, coriander, cardamon, and cumin all have very strong fragrances so their combined portion should be considered with respect to total amount, and the relative balance between each can be used to emphasize characteristics of the material (for example, cardamon accents the fruitiness of coconut milk, whereas clove can give the vegetables a noticeable boost in perceived flavor; coriander magnifies fish dishes but its high affinity for attaching to oil may cause it to be too strong in lighter dishes and etc.)
Connoisseurs describe allspice as having the scent of all spices (particularly: nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves); using it together with the 3 spices it generally replaces instead allows you accentuate the unique full and silky fragrance of allspice itself.
Bay leaves / Cinnamon was excluded as I felt that they don't go well with the chicken nor the spicy Thai theme.
Step 3: Matters on the Cutting Board (and Flouring the Chicken)
Chicken breast is well known to be easily overcooked. Instead of cooking it with the curry as one would if it were beef, I took a page out of the Japanese lineage of curry cooking by lightly flouring and then frying the chicken separately.
- Cut chicken breast in to inch sized bits
- marinate with cooking wine (trace) and salt
- cover with starch first, mix, and then cover again with flour
- Finely dice the onions;
- chop other vegetables in to inch chunks
Step 4: In the Pan...
- Set to high heat, set with olive oil;
- start by browning the potato and carrots;
- once that's done, add in onions and let it sautee nicely;
- pour in one can of coconut milk and add water to lighten it;
- add in sufficient amounts of prepared spice mix, stir well and place on medium heat
- season with salt
Step 5: In Another Pan
- Prep the pan with olive oil at high heat;
- add coated chicken breasts at high oil temperature, stir loose the meat and then dial down to medium-high heat;
- cook until chicken is lightly brown, immediately remove from pan and set aside.
Step 6: Finishing Up
- Let curry pan cook for another 7-10 minutes until the vegetables are cooked thoroughly (potato should be soft but not mashy)
- add in chicken breasts and cook for another minute
- chop fresh parsley, put half in to the mix and save half for plating.
Step 7: Final Product
Serve curry in a bowl, decorate with some parsley leaves on top.
Serve with toasted pita bread or rice.