So, a while ago, when I saw this episode of Poh & Co, where Poh (one of my favorite TV chefs) whipped up a Nonya (a type of Malaysian) Chicken Curry, both, my husband and I knew we had to try the recipe out. The recipe does call for a few specialty ingredients, but the first time I made this curry, I didn’t have them and so I left them out. Even then the curry was a great one. But I knew I wanted to try the recipe with all of the ingredients. So I picked up the Pandan leaves and the Shrimp Belachan at a local Asian grocery store and made the curry again. This time with all the ingredients. The result was a mind-blowing curry. Now I don’t often refer to a curry as mind-blowing. A cake, maybe, but never a curry. But this curry is all that, and then some. It is one of my favorite chicken curries. And today I’m going to show you how I make mine. I have altered the method a tiny bit, to make the recipe more convenient and I hope you try this out the next time you want to make a chicken curry.
If you’ve never made a curry before, don’t let the idea scare you. It is easier than you think. I’ve put together a video to walk you through the process.
Let’s move on the the detailed recipe for this Nonya Chicken Curry.
Nonya Chicken Curry
Recipe from: Poh Ling Yeow
3 tbsp Coriander seeds
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Fennel seeds
15 dried red chillies
2 onions, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic
20g toasted Belachan
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
8-10 curry leaves
2 tbsp oil (I use olive oil for all my cooking. You can use whatever oil you normally cook with.)
1 star anise
1 inch cinnamon
1 1/2 kilo chicken pieces
2 potatoes, cut into large cubes
2 birdseye chillies, slit lengthways
1 can coconut cream (400 ml can)
2 pandan leaves
Take the skin off the chicken, cut into pieces, trim the fat off and set aside.
Deseed the dried chillies and soak them in hot water till they’ve rehydrated and softened.
In a dry pan, on medium heat, roast the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds till fragrant. Take them off the pan and set aside to cool.
Using a blender or food processor (you can also use a mortar and pestle if you dont have one), grind the roasted coriander-fennel-cumin seeds mix, drained red chillies, onion, garlic, belachan and turmeric to a fine paste, adding a little water as needed.
Heat oil in a large pot / pan over medium heat. Add the star anise, cinnamon and cloves and let them fry till fragrant about 20-30 seconds.
Add the spice paste (rempah) to the pan and saute for 6-8 minutes till the sauce is very fragrant.
Tear the pandan leaves into 3 strips lengthways and knot them together. Add the pandan and curry leaves to the spice mix.
Add the chicken to the pan and stir to coat with the spice paste. Saute for 1-2 minutes or till the chicken pieces start to look opaque.
Add the coconut cream and stir well.
Add the potatoes, salt and sugar. Add a little water to thin down the sauce a little to reach the desired consistency. Let it come to a boil.
Add the slit birdseye chillies, lower the heat, cover the pot and simmer till tender. Check after 5-7 minutes, add more water if needed, stir to make sure the curry doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Cover the pot and continue cooking till the chicken and potatoes are cooked.
Serve hot with rice. I tried to serve it up like a Nasi Lemak, but with plain rice instead of coconut rice. I added some fried baby anchovies, peanuts, boiled egg and some cucumber slices.
This curry also goes really well with roti or even bread. If you can get on hands on some Roti Canai, even better.
I hope you’re having a great week. I am super excited today. Yes, partly because it is Friday and that is one of favorite days of the week. It is also because, today in a first of many (hopefully), I’ve made a video for this recipe. I have wanted to do this for the longest time, but I’ve been putting it off because I thought I needed to have the perfect kitchen, the perfect cookware and so on. But I have come to realize that not everyone has the perfect kitchen, but we still love to cook up great food and learn new recipes. So instead of waiting for the perfect kitchen stars to align, I was going to start sharing my videos with you to show you that you can cook great food no matter how small or dated your kitchen may be. Since we’re renting at the moment, there’s not much we can do about the situation at the moment, but the focus will always be on delicious food.
In the last few years I’ve cooked on gas stoves, hot plates and ceramic cooktops. All of them have their own set of quirks. Like they say every oven is different, I think every cooktop is different too and you just need to spend some time getting to know it.
On to today’s recipe. This cashew chicken is a quick and easy recipe. You can get it on the table in under 20 minutes. This is the perfect low carb meal when served on a bed of lettuce. You could, however, also serve it up with some fried rice or noodles too. I love it with lettuce and it makes a perfect summer’s meal.
Here’s the video. Let me know what you think. I sure hope you will like and share the video and Subscribe to my channel too. This is my first cooking video, so it’s not perfect and I’ve learnt a lot from this experience. The detailed recipe will also be listed below.
Cashew Chicken on Lettuce
250g boneless, skinless chicken
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce (Use a little lesser if you’re using regular soy sauce)
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 – 1 tsp red chilly paste
1/2 tbsp olive oil (cooking oil of your choice)
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ginger, finely chopped (fresh ginger is best but you can also use lightly dried ginger like I did here)
1/2 cup raw cashew seeds
Iceberg lettuce leaves (or any lettuce of your choice)
Sesame seeds, to garnish
Cut the chicken to bite size pieces.
In a bowl, mix the chicken, soy sauce, oyster sauce and chilly paste and toss well. Set this aside for about 10 minutes to marinade.
While that is happening, chop the ginger and garlic. (Fresh ginger is best, but I didn’t have any so I used some from Gourmet Garden.)
Chop the lettuce leaves into bite size pieces and place them on serving plates.
Now, heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for about 30 seconds or till they release a lovely aroma and are gently sizzling.
Turn the heat up to medium high and add the chicken and the marinade liquids. Add the sesame oil to the pan.
Stir fry for about 4-5 minutes or till the chicken has cooked through. (Please note, the cook time will depend on the size of the chicken pieces, so watch the pan and make sure the chicken pieces are cooked on all sides and have cooked through.) Stir the contents of the pan frequently, so ensure they don’t burn.
When the chicken is cooked, add the cashew seeds and stir through for about a minute or till they’ve heated through.
And that’s it. Your cashew chicken is ready to serve.
Spoon some of the chicken on the bed of lettuce. Make sure you have a few cashew seeds on each plate.
Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top and serve.
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What I also like about this fried rice is you can pretty much use whatever you have on hand. You can switch up the veggies. I almost always use onion, spring onion, capsicum and carrot. I also add zucchini, snow peas, cabbage and baby corn if I have any of them on hand. The same is the case with the protein. Almost always I use a little bacon for flavour and some egg. Then I either use prawns, shredded chicken and sometimes even ham depending on what I have available at the time. So like you see, this fried rice is one of those meals you can put together almost any day of the week, even when your grocery run is due the next day. Apart from cooking the rice, it comes together in one pan – I now use my wok and love it.
This is the quickest way I find to get this on the plate. Soak my rice and when the rice is soaking and cooking, I prep my protien and veggies. When everything is ready, the final dish takes about 10 minutes tops to put together. Its one of my favourite quick and easy weeknight meal options. I tend to add a lot of vegetables and I like it that way, you could drop the quantity of vegetables to suit your liking. This is just a guide to making this fried rice and the quantities are suggestions. Go with what you think you’ll enjoy and adjust to your liking.
Chicken Fried Rice
Serves 3 (as mains)
1 cup basmati rice
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 birdseye chilly (optional – we enjoy hot food but you can leave it out if you dont)
3 spring onions
1 red pepper
6-8 green beans
A handful of finely sliced cabbage (about a cups worth)
3 rashers of bacon (I used streaky bacon)
A cup of shredded chicken (you could used poached, roast, or rotisserie chicken)
A couple of tablespoons of oil (vegetable, olive or sunflower or any other cooking oil of your choice)
1 tsp sesame oil
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Approx. 1 tbsp soy sauce (I use salt reduced soy)
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
Rinse the rice a couple of times and drain. Soak in fresh water at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes.
Bring a pot of water to the boil (just like you would for pasta). Add a spoon of salt to the water and carefully add the rice. Cook the rice till almost done (al dente). Don’t cook the rice through as it will turn mushy once you add it to the wok.
Drain the cook rice and using a fork lightly loosen the grains and leave to cool.
In the meanwhile, clean and chop all your vegetables. I like to chop mine in like sized pieces. You could julienne everything or slice it on the diagonal into little chunks. (I will try and get a picture of the chopped up veggies when I make this next, I was in a hurry this time and forgot.)
Dice the bacon rashers and keep aside.
Keep all your ingredients handy. The trick to cooking a delicious fried rice is to cook it on a high heat and cook it quickly.
Heat your wok or pan. Add a little cooking oil to the pan. Crack 2 eggs in a bowl, add a little salt and lightly whisk. Now either make a plain omlette and cut into chunks or a plain scramble. Take the egg off the pan and keep aside.
Next step is to fry off the bacon. Add a little oil if needed and tip the cut bacon into the work and let it cook a little and add some flavor to the pan. Dont cook till crisp. You just want the ends to start changing to a light brown. Now add the garlic and chilly and saute till it gets fragrant.
Add the sesame oil and then tip in the diced pepper and the rest of the veggies and stir fry on high heat till they cook off a little. You still want them to have a little bite.
Add the chopped spring onions.
Add a light sprinkle of salt and some freshly cracked black pepper.
Add the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar and stir to let it coat the veggies. Please adjust the sauce to suit your liking.
Tip in the chicken and egg and stir well to incorporate.
At this stage add the rice to the wok and gently mix everything but mix thoroughly. I use a spatula and a pair of chopsticks to do this.
Once the rice has warmed through, serve hot and top with finely sliced spring onion greens to garnish and if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, some finely sliced fresh chilly.
Enjoy piping hot.
**Leftovers warm up really well the next day too.
If you don’t have ground meat at hand, cocktail sausages / frankfurters cut into little slices also do the job. Precooked (grilled or roasted) chicken and shredded, works nicely too. I love how versatile this recipe is.
Pasta and Meatballs
For the meatballs –
500g ground turkey
1 onion, finely chopped
1 -2 green / red chillies, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
2 slices of bread, soaked in water for a minute or so, squeeze to drain all liquid and crumble
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilly powder
A couple of tbsp Vegetable oil
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients, except the vegetable oil
Form into meatballs.
Heat a pan with a tablespoon of vegetable oil.
Fry the meatballs till they are golden brown.
Take off the heat and keep aside.
NOTE: You may need to fry the meatballs in batches. Add more oil to the pan between batches as needed.
For the sauce –
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/4-1/2 green capsicum, chopped
1/2 tsp dried mixed Italian herbs (you can use fresh if you have them on hand)
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes, optional
1 tsp smoked paprika powder
1 can whole peeled tomatoes / diced tomatoes
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
Place a saucepan over medium heat and pour in the olive oil.
Tip in the chopped garlic and saute for a few seconds till nice and fragrant. You do not want the garlic to burn.
Add the onion and fry off till the onions have softened.
Add the capsicum and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
Add the herbs and spices and stir well .
Add the can of tomatoes. If you are using whole peeled tomatoes, just use your spoon to break them down for a chunky sauce. If you want a smoother sauce, blitz the tomatoes in the food processor and then add it to the saucepan. I like mine chunky. (Also worth noting is they say the quality of tomatoes used to can whole, peeled tomatoes is better. The slightly more compromised / bruised ones go to make the canned crushed / diced tomatoes.)
Add salt to taste. Bring to a boil.
I add about 1/4 can of water (use the tomato can to measure and swirl it around to use up all the rest of the tomato sauce) and add as needed, to give you the desired consistency. Let it come to a boil again.
Cover and let the sauce simmer for about 10-15 minutes on low heat. The flavour in the sauce deepens with simmering.
I recently picked up a whole bird from the supermarket. I usually pick up an RSPCA approved product. My take on a roast chicken is usually a very simple, yet flavorful marinade. Of course, you can serve this chicken up at a regular weekend meal or even at a more prominent family get together or party, by putting up some clever sides. I will share some ideas for sides over time. For today, we’ll stick with the roast chicken. So if you’ve never made a roast chicken at home before, this is a good recipe to start with. Chances are you’ll already have all the ingredients in your pantry. I’m sharing this recipe with you today so that you have a little time to try this out before Easter and then maybe, serve it up for Easter as well.
When roasting a chicken, the cooking time will vary based on the sized of the bird. After doing a little reading up, a common rule of thumb for cooking time is 45 minutes per kilo of chicken + 20 minutes. I use this as a guide and this is something you should keep in mind if you’ve never roasted a chicken before. How do you work out cooking time required for a good chicken roast?
1 chicken, whole, skin on (I used a smaller sized one about 1.2kilos )
Salt, to taste
Crushed black pepper, to taste
Juice of half a lemon
1 1/2 tsp Ginger garlic paste
1 – 1 1/2 tbsp Olive oil
Wash and pat the chicken dry using paper towels.
Spread all the marinade ingredients on the chicken as well as in the cavity and rub it in well, almost like a massage. Leave to rest for about an hour.
Heat the oven to 200°C.
This time around, I placed the chicken on the rack in the roasting tray. I think it works well. This way the chicken isn’t cooking in the liquids. The skin turns out crisper.
Place the chicken in the hot oven. After about 10 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 180°C. Bake for required time till the chicken is cooked. Halfway through the cooking process, I baste the chicken with the some olive oil.
(If some of the marinade has dripped onto the roasting tray and seems like its burning, carefully add a splash of water to the tray, just a tiny bit to keep it from burning. I had to do this a couple of times.)
Please note the cooking time instructions above. To check if the chicken is cooked well, insert a sharp knife in the joint where the leg joins the body. If the juices run clear, the chicken is cooked. If it is still pink, the chicken needs to cook more.
When the chicken is cooked, cover with foil and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
Serve up with your favorite sides.
What are some of your favorite sides? I’d love to hear from you.