This recipe swap makes me feel like a 12 year old girl going to a Justin Bieber concert. I’m really mad about it (though promise not to scream in your literary ear). Each round has brought forth some fantastic, unexpected element and this one has been no different.
As background, this recipe redo/swap idea was brought to life by Christianna of Burwell General Store upon finding a cool vintage hymnal/recipe book at a swap meet in Arizona. She had the vision of bringing those recipes back to life with a twist. We redo/swappers must change at least three things to make it our own and stay true to the intent of the recipe (e.g. a big fat T-bone steak would not be an acceptable redo for a pudding recipe).
This month’s recipe is Grandma’s Chicken Pie with Drop Dumplings. American comfort food at its most traditional, stomach-filling finest. Though my culinary bent is organic, local, seasonal, this recipe inspired me to zip half way around the world, back to a place I lived and ate happily for some big chunks of time: Singapore. I have chosen a Nonya Chicken Curry dish. I find nothing more comforting and satisfying than curry. This particular dish is one I learned to make while in Singapore and have folded back into my U.S. repertoire.
Ping was clear this is Penang style Nonya curry powder, which is different than Malay or Singaporean Nonya curry powder. I will pre-empt my Singaporean readers to say I realize combining these differing aspects does not produce a traditional chicken curry in Singaporean Nonya-style (a cuisine with its own signatures within Singaporean food). However in the spirit of the rich and varied cultures of your land, which I love, I hope you’ll forgive my ‘mix and match’ approach in conveying this dish!
Grind all spices (or mix if using powdered form) together to make the exact quantity for the Nonya Chicken Curry below.
2. Heat a wok or large pan, add the oil. When oil is hot add the shallots, garlic, ginger and onions. Saute until transparent.
3. Add the curry paste and warm over medium heat until fragrant (about 15-20 minutes), stirring occasionally.
4. Add the chicken and coat with the curry.
5. Pour in the coconut milk and add the potatoes. Gently toss together.
6. Bring to a boil, stirring to ensure no burning. Cook at a slow boil (I used a lid) until chicken is cooked thoroughly and potatoes are soft, about 30-35 minutes.
Salt to taste. Serve by itself or on a bed of rice.
NONYA-STYLE CHICKEN CURRY
Nonya Curry Powder for Chicken or Beef
- 12 grams fennel seeds
- 6 grams cumin seeds
- 12 grams dried red chilies
- 6 grams turmeric
- 3 grams white pepper seeds peppercorns
- 3 grams cinnamon
- 1 ½ grams cloves
- 1 ½ grams star anise
- ½ stalk dried lemongrass I have a dehydrator so dried lemongrass in it. I think you could achieve the same affect by drying in a low temperature oven. I also later found lemongrass powder at a local Asian market.
NONYA CHICKEN CURRY
- 1 chicken cut into pieces
- 8-10 tablespoons Nonya Curry Powder
- 4 shallots minced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 4 slices ginger minced
- 1 onion sliced
- 8-12 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 cups coconut milk see below to make your own or how to use canned milk/cream
- 4-5 potatoes cut into bite-sized pieces
- Salt to taste
- Grind all spices (or mix if using powdered form) together to make the exact quantity for the Nonya Chicken Curry below.
- Make a curry paste from the curry powders and 3 tablespoons of the coconut milk.
- Heat a wok or large pan, add the oil. When oil is hot add the shallots, garlic, ginger and onions. Saute until transparent.
- Add the curry paste and warm over medium heat until fragrant (about 15-20 minutes), stirring occasionally.
- Add the chicken and coat with the curry.
- Pour in the coconut milk and add the potatoes. Gently toss together.
- Bring to a boil, stirring to ensure no burning. Cook at a slow boil (I used a lid) until chicken is cooked thoroughly and potatoes are soft, about 30-35 minutes.
- Salt to taste. Serve by itself or on a bed of rice.
To Make Coconut Milk:
1. Blend 2 cups hot water with meat of one fresh coconut or one packet of desiccated coconut in a blender. Let stand for 20 minutes and strain, OR
2. Dilute one can of coconut milk or coconut cream with water to make the required 2 cups of milk.
A favorite, Newton’s Circus, was outdoors and was a frequent dinner haunt for my fellow expats, our new local friends and me. I lived in Singapore from midsummer through late fall so it was often beastly hot even at night. It was not uncommon to eat as late as 10 or 11 p.m. at night, still feeling drenched from humidity and the delicious heat from the food.
They’ve done studies on how to cut the heat when eating spicy food, and beer ranks high in this form of aid. Tiger beer was a usual partner for our late night chow downs. This was before I knew I could not have gluten (which is in all beer unless it’s made gluten free). We would drink monstrously large bottles, glistening with water droplets, as we’d eat for hours it seemed. There was always one more delicacy to try. The heat and humidity, and frankly profuse perspiration, lead to no affects from the alcohol in the beer but rather made it a refreshing companion to stay hydrated! I’ve paired a nostalgic bottle with my curry.