I went grocery shopping and guess what was on sale? Chicken Kurma spice mix! These spice packs are not even expensive (RM0.50-RM1.50) but due to the prolonged lockdown and time away from malls, this is as exciting as shopping gets for me.
Not to be confused with the popular Indian Chicken Korma prepared with yoghurt, Chicken Kurma or Kurma Ayam is a classic Malay dish you can easily find at Nasi Campur (economy rice) stalls in Malaysia. This aromatic dish does not feature any chilli powder so it's not spicy at all and is uniquely brown in colour. Some would prefer the gravy to be quite thin but I like it creamy & luscious! I'd suggest preparing this dish in advance (a day before if possible) as the flavours develop better over time.
Chicken Kurma /Kurma Ayam (Malaysian Style)
Serves: 3-4 pax
Cook & Prep Time: 60minutes
3/4 of a whole chicken (roughly 1-1.5kg)
3x 25g Kurma spice pack *I used Baba's. If you're using another brand or buying from a local market, adjust the amount according to their suggested cooking directions.
2 teaspoons of Assam Jawa (tamarind) paste
100ml Coconut milk
6 cloves of garlic
1 knob of ginger
Assorted spices (cardamon pods, cloves, star anise & cinnamon)
2 chillies (green or red)
1 stalk coriander
1 stalk spring onion
1-2 cups of cooking oil
0.5-1 litre of water
Salt to taste
You may use a work or a pot as long as there's a cover.
Cooking Directions : 1. Peel the garlic, ginger and onions. Cut onions into quarters.
2. Wash and cut the spring onion and coriander into shorter pieces for easier blending.
3. Blend these ingredients separately. *Note that only one onion is blended and the other is reserved for cooking.
4. Peel the potatoes & carrots. Cut into large chunks.
5. Slice the chillies in half lengthwise and slice the tomatoes into 4-8 pieces depending on your preference.
7. Heat 1 cup of oil and saute the blended ingredients (a) and assorted spices until fragrant. Use low heat and stir frequently to avoid burning.
8. Stir in the Kurma spice mix and add more oil if too dry.
9. Stir in blended ingredients (b) and continue stirring until fragrant. Again, add more oil if it's dry, you should have a relatively wet & pasty mixture.
10. Stir in chicken and add water until the chicken is partially covered, I used around 700 ml.
11. Stir in carrots, potatoes, and 2 teaspoons of tamarind paste. Cover and simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring intermittently to prevent burning. Cook longer if necessary until potatoes & carrots are soft.
12. Add coconut milk, tomatoes, chillies and onions. Adjust the amount of coconut milk to your preference.
13. Simmer for another 1-2 minutes and add salt to taste. Ready to serve!
The chicken was perfectly tender since it's simmered the whole way through and the tartness of the tamarind paste & tomatoes cuts the richness of the gravy. Make sure to enjoy with piping hot white rice!
While it's not the easiest dish to prepare, you can always cook a huge batch and enjoy it over the week - the flavours really get much better over time! If you like, do add veggies (tomatoes, chillies & cilantro) when you reheat the dish to add some freshness.
Till the next cook, stay safe & makan well!