Probably the most wonderful aspect of making a curry is the heavenly aromas that drift through the house when food is being prepared. Balinese chicken curry is lighter than its Indian counterpart. You can also replace the chicken with any other meat, fish or vegetable.
For maximum flavour, I always use chicken thigh or leg with the bone for a curry. However, you can use chicken breast or boned meat if you prefer. Use fresh galangal and turmeric for this dish as the flavour, aroma and texture will be far superior to the powdered varieties.
750 g chicken pieces 1-2 cups coconut milk
5 tbs oil for frying 1 lemongrass
3 salam leaves 4 lime leaves
sea salt 2 tsp tamarind
5 small red shallots 7 small cloves garlic
3 large red chilli 2-3 bird’s-eye chillies
3 tsp ginger 3 tbs galangal
3 candlenut 1 tbs fresh turmeric
½ tomato 2 stalks of lemongrass
1/4 tsp shrimp paste 2 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp cumin (opt)
1 tbs palm sugar
Blend all the spices in the container of a food processor until paste-like. Add a little water if necessary. Bruise the extra lemon grass and tie into a loose knot.
Heat the oil in a wok over a medium flame. Throw in the spices, lemongrass, lime leaves and salam leaves. Push them back and forth confidently for 30 seconds until fragrant and shiny, making sure they don’t burn on the base of the wok. Add the chicken and toss around until sealed or half-cooked. This will take at least two minutes. Add two cups of water and boil for about fifteen minutes or until the meat is cooked. Now add the final layer of coconut milk.
Bring to the boil, simmer for a minute and then turn off.
Check seasonings and serve topped with shallots. Add sea salt to taste.