Javanese Chicken Curry features a sublime coconut-milk curry, perfumed with lemongrass, ginger, cinnamon sticks, kaffir lime and daun salam leaves, and ground coriander aromas. Outstandingly elegant!
Javanese Chicken Curry Recipe-
For the Flavoring Paste-
- 1 fresh Scotch Bonnet hot chili pepper, stemmed and rough chopped
- 6 oz. peeled and coarsely chopped shallots
- 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and rough chopped
- 1 piece of fresh galangal root, 1-1/2″ long, peeled and sliced thin
- 1 piece of fresh ginger root, 2″ long, peeled and sliced thin
- 1 tbsp. ground coriander (or whole coriander seeds)
For the Chicken Curry-
- 1) 3 lb. whole free-range chicken, deboned, chopped into 16 pieces exactly (for authenticity)
- 3 tbsp. peanut oil
- 2 pieces cinnamon stick, 4” long each
- 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, bruised and tied into a knot
- 5 whole fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves
- 4 daun salam leaves (fresh or dried)
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 tsp. kosher salt (or more, to taste)
- some rough chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
- First make your flavoring paste. Place the shallots, garlic, chile, galangal, coriander and ginger in a small food processor; pulse until you have a smooth, creamy, mashed paste consistency – if you are using whole coriander seeds, keep pulsing until they are completely pulverized. (add up to 2 tablespoons of water, 1 at a time, scraping the un-ground portions down toward the blade as you do, if need be.) Set aside, for now.
- Rinse your chicken with cold running water; pat dry with paper or cloth towels. Set aside, for now.
- Heat the oil in a 3 or 4 quart Dutch oven, deep skillet, or cooking pot over medium-low flame. Add a pinch of the ground paste. If the paste sizzles a bit around the edges, the oil is at the correct temperature; now, add all the ground flavoring paste in, and sauté, stirring every 10 seconds or so to prevent sticking and burning, until your paste starts to separate from the oil and the aroma of raw shallots and garlic and shallots has dissipated—about 6 or 7 minutes should do it.
- Add the cinnamon, lemongrass, lime leaves, and daun salam leaves, and stir to combine well with the paste. Continue cooking about 1 minute, or until you can clearly smell the fragrance of cinnamon.
- Add the chicken and raise the flame to medium. Sauté the chicken in the paste, turning often with a large spoon or spatula—this prevents sticking or burning. Turn all pieces so they sauté until evenly golden brown—about 10 minutes should do it.
- Add the water, 1 cup of the unsweetened coconut milk, and the salt to the chicken. Stir to combine well, blending the liquids with the flavoring paste. (scrape the bottom of the pot to bring up all the bits of flavor) Bring the dish to a low, even simmer. Allow the coconut milk to simmer, stirring often, until the fats from the chicken and coconut milk rise to the surface and the chicken is tender and cooked through, but not falling off the bone— about 45-50 minutes should do it. Keep close watch; be careful to not let the liquid to boil, or the coconut milk will curdle and the chicken will probably get tough.
- Do a taste test; add more salt, if necessary.
- Now, add the remaining 1 cup coconut milk; let it heat through and start assimilating the flavors of the curry, about 2 minutes. This additional coconut milk will make the dish even more rich. If there is too much oil floating on the surface of the curry for your tastes? You can skim some of it off, but please not all of it — it is intense with rich flavor. Taste for salt once again.
- Next, transfer the chicken and sauce to a large, shallow serving bowl; remove the cinnamon, tied lemongrass, kaffir lime and daun salam leaves, if you wish, or leave them in the bowl—they will continue seasoning the dish.
- Allow your Javanese Chicken Curry to rest and cool at room temperature—about 20 minutes—before serving; this gives the flavors time to blend and intensify even more.
- Serve your Javanese Chicken Curry while still nice and warm, garnished with fresh cilantro.
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