I wish I could bottle up the smell of this Indonesian Chicken Curry and wear it around like perfume.
Okay, that may be taking things a little far. I’d probably attract all sorts of interesting people, though.
My point is that this curry smells absolutely amazing. Oh, and it tastes just as good as it smells. Seriously, I was just standing over the pan and using my hand to waft the steam towards my face so I could inhale more of this fragrant goodness.
I think if we’ve learned anything from this post so far, it’s that I have an unhealthy relationship with food and I may or may not be huffing curry in my spare time.
Right. So I should probably start telling you about this delicious Indonesian-style curry. If Thai Curry and Indian Curry fell in love and had a baby, that baby would be this Indonesian Curry. It incorporates savory, umami flavors of fish sauce as well as aromatic notes from coriander and cinnamon.
I know the ingredient list looks a little daunting, but most of those ingredients get thrown into a food processor and ground to a pulp, so it’s really not that bad.
Here you can see a whole hodge-podge of deliciousness that is going to be pulverized into a homemade curry paste. I spy shallots, garlic, ginger, dried red chilies, fresh green chilies, cashews, and a whole bunch of spices.
See that beautiful color? That’s from the turmeric. It gives the end dish a beautiful golden color.
To make this, you’ll heat some oil in a pan and add some cinnamon sticks, lemongrass stalks, and wild lime leaves for flavor. You can use a wok if you like, but I used my big ol’ 4-quart saute pan to contain all the saucy goodness. Then you’ll add in that colorful curry paste and let the spices toast to release their fragrances.
Next, you’ll add some chicken and brown the pieces on both sides. Stir in some coconut milk and broth, then cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in a few healthy tablespoons of fish sauce, then serve piping hot with a side of rice.
This sauce is so good you’ll want to just eat it with a spoon.
If you’ve never tried Indonesian food, this is the perfect recipe to introduce you to the cuisine. If you like Thai food, you’ll love this curry dish.
Here’s Your Recipe!
15 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
35 minTotal Time
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 4 dried red chilies, stems removed
- 2 fresh green Thai chiles, stems and seeds removed
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 large shallot, peeled
- 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 3 Tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
- 5 wild lime leaves
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 3 small stalks lemongrass
- 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can coconut milk, divided
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 4 Tablespoons fish sauce
- Rice, for serving
- Place the spices, chilies, cashews garlic, shallot, and ginger in a food processor and grind into a paste.
- Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet or work over medium-high heat. Add cinnamon sticks, lemongrass stalks, and lime leaves. Let cook one minute. Add the ground paste and use a wooden spoon to break it up and mash into the oil. Let cook two minutes.
- Add chicken pieces and cook two to three minutes per side, until browned.
- Stir in half of the coconut milk and all of the chicken broth. Cover, reduce heat to low, and let simmer 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Stir in the rest of the coconut milk and the fish sauce. Serve hot with lots of rice.
You can also use seeds or whole spices in place of the ground ones.
*It's up to you if you want to remove the cinnamon sticks, lime leaves, and lemongrass before serving. You don't want to eat them, but they make for a pretty presentation.
***Adapted from the March 2014 issue of Saveur Magazine