Aye aye Chicken Kapitan! This is one of my all time favourites! Those who know me know I can't get enough Malaysian food in my life. I literally can't living in the US, it seems a very under represented cuisine! This means most of my Malay is made at home - which is just fine by me.
When I lived in Sydney, on the days I wasn't eating Laksa at Jimmy's, I'd walk down to Hunter Street metro station where there was the most splendid underground Malaysian restaurant (now sadly closed due to the ongoing gentrification of Sydney). It was a really scruffy, windowless, teeny-tiny-hot-box that reminded me of the sweaty, balmy nights I spent in Singapore and Malaysia eating the most mind-blowing street food. I'd try make the effort at least once a week to eat there.
Service with a smile
They served all the standards at the restaurant, but it was their chicken Kapitan that was an absolute knock-out! It's not a spicy curry, but boy does it hold the most amazing fresh, lemony fragrance that has me watering at the mouth just reminiscing. The LOVELY lady who worked there was about 4ft and a modest 300 years old - she always welcomed me with a broad smile and lots of enthusiastic nodding, after a while she stopped asking what I wanted - just took my money then shuffled over to my table with a Chicken Kapitan, a bowl of rice and a roti and smiled at me for approval the entire time I was eating. I don't think I ever ate anything else at that restaurant.
I remember the day that restaurant inexplicably closed. I was so sad (that I couldn't get a Kapitan) and then a little sadder that I'd not see the smiley lady again.
At home, when this curry is cooking on the stove, all those authentic aromas of Malaysia permeate every corner of the house - lemongrass, coconut, turmeric waft through every room. While it's cooking I still secretly hope that little lady will shuffle out from a cupboard at any second, just to give me a big smile.
This curry is mostly mild (i've made spicy versions - but prefer it milder), and so full of flavour - I can barely handle the fact that there are three (soon to be two) portions currently in my freezer.
The Kapitan will make you smile too.
How to make my Chicken Kapitan
- 10 small shallots (peeled & roughly chopped)
- 4cm cm piece galangal (sliced)
- 4 cm piece fresh turmeric (chopped)
- 4 garlic cloves (peeled)
- 4 fresh red Thai chillies (seeded)
- 6 candlenuts
- 1 tsp shrimp paste
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 kg skinless & boneless chicken thighs (cut into chunks)
- 2 lemongrass stalks (bruised at end)
- 5 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 400g can coconut milk
- 1 lime (juice of)
- 2 medium potatoes (peeled and quartered)
- 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 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 20 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and submerge. Cook for a further 30 minutes until soft. Add a little water if the curry reduces too much - you want a heavy cream consistency. Once the potatoes are cooked, remove from heat.
- Stir in the lime juice and and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve with lots of fluffy jasmine rice and some fresh elements like tomato, cucumber or BOTH!
I’m the one in charge here at Cook Eat Blog. You may have noticed that I like food. I live for food, to find it, cook it, eat it, photograph it and talk about it. I hope you like my food too – leave me a message if you do!
Cook.Eat.Blog. is my happy place to share all that I cook and eat with the you all – you’re welcome!