Ayam Kleo (Nyonyan Chicken Curry)

It’s been a LONG time since I cooked something Malaysian – almost a year! I find this bizarre – especially as I love the food so much. I think my focus has been very much on Indian for the last 12 months, but cooking Malaysian food is so enjoyable. Tonight was a really simple curry in the Nyonyan style. It really was delicious – creamy, rich, spicy and incredibly fragrant. A real winner and a must try curry!

INGREDIENTS:
1 kg chicken thighs (cut into large chunks)
1 onion (chopped)
1 lemon grass stalk (whites only, thinly sliced)
6 candle nuts (or macadamia nuts)
1 heaped tablespoon grated garlic
1 heaped tablespoon grated ginger
2 teaspoons chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch white pepper
400ml coconut milk
2 tablespoons peanut oil

DIRECTIONS:
In a pestle and mortar, grind together the lemon grass, candle nuts, onion, garlic and ginger until very smooth. Stir in the chilli and turmeric powders, shrimp paste, salt and pepper. Take 2 tablespoons of the paste and stir into the chicken. Leave for 1/2 hour to marinade.

Heat the oil in a wok until hot – add the chicken pieces and let them brown for 5 minutes. Add the remaining curry paste and the coconut milk along with about 300ml water. Let this come to a simmer then reduce the heat to low. Simmer gently, uncovered for 40 minutes to reduce the sauce until thick and creamy.

SERVING:
Serve with lots of fragrant Jasmine rice or buttery roti bread.

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