Chicken Kapitan

The one nationality of food that I crave the most is Malaysian. I just love the stuff. From the delicious soups, to stir fries, rice dishes and salads to the awesome curries and stews – I love them all. Sweet, spicy, sour and salty – a marvellous combination of spice and texture. This kapitan curry is one of the tastiest I’ve eaten. I normally make my kapitan curries mega spicy as that’s how I like them – I also have a chilli bush in my garden that’s growing like a weed and producing thousands of chillies at the moment, so I hate to see a good chilli go to waste. This recipe has been toned down from my original, but it still packs a moderate punch – about a 6 out of 10. You can scale it up or down to your own taste naturally.

Spice Paste:

10 small shallots (peeled)
4cm piece galangal (sliced)
4cm piece fresh turmeric (or 1 teaspoon turmeric powder)
4 garlic cloves (peeled)
10-15 fresh Thai chillies (seeded)
6 candlenuts
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1kg chicken thigh fillets (cut into chunks)
2 lemongrass stalks (bruised with rolling pin)
5 kaffir lime leaves
1 400g can coconut milk
1 lime (juice of)

Using a food processor or hand blender, blend all the spice paste ingredients together into a smooth paste.

In a work or deep pan, heat the oil over a moderate heat until hot. Add the spice paste and stir fry for 10 minutes. If it begins to stick, add a little coconut milk.

Add the chicken, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass and turn up the heat. Stir fry for a further 7-10 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk, fill up the empty can half way with water and add this to the pan too. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium/low and simmer gently for 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Remove from the heat.

Stir in the lime juice and and adjust seasoning if needed.

Serve with plain boiled rice or the altogether more fancy coconut rice.

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