OPOR MANUK (Chicken Curry, Lombok style)
For Fresh Spice and Herb Paste
2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
4 fresh long hot red chilies coarsely chopped - more if you want it hotter
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
12 raw cashew nuts
2 large onions coarsely chopped
8-10 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp shrimp paste or anchovy paste
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp whole black peppercorns
8 good-sized slices of dried galangal, or 2-3 tsp galangal powder
6 whole cloves
2-inch cinnamon stick
2 14-oz cans coconut milk (do not shake the cans)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
7 lbs chicken thighs
1 Tbsp salt
Put the red pepper, chiles, ginger, cashews, shallots or onion, garlic and shrimp paste into a blender, and blend to a smooth paste, adding a tiny bit of water if needed. Leave it in the blender container. Put the cumin seeds, peppercorns, galangal, cloves and cinnamon into the spice grinder, and grind until fine. Put this powder into the blender and whir for a few seconds to mix.
Open the cans of coconut milk WITHOUT shaking them. Spoon off the cream at the top and set aside. Pour the remaining milk into a measuring cup; add water to make 3 cups total.
Heat oil in a wok or nonstick pan (or cook in two pans if necessary). When hot, put in the curry paste from the blender. Stir fry 6-8 minutes or until the paste is dark red and quite reduced. Add chicken pieces and salt. Stir fry for another 2-3 minutes. Now put in the thinned coconut milk and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook on medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Turn the heat off.
Spoon off most of the oil that will have risen to the top. Stir in the coconut cream and mix well. Heat through gently. Serve, garnished with additional chiles.
Beef Rendang (Indonesia)
This is a wonderful Indonesian recipe which not only tastes great, but will
keep in the fridge for several days, and freezes very well.
2 1/2 lbs beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
12 shallots, chopped (or 2 onions)
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 pieces of laos or dried galangal
1 inch of fresh ginger, grated
Sambal Ulek to taste
4 stems of lemongrass
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin seeds
5 curry leaves
3 cups of coconut milk
1 tsp of tamarind, in 4 tablespoons of warm water
2 Tbsp of soy Sauce
salt to taste
Process the shallots, garlic, laos, ginger, sambal ulek and turmeric to a
smooth paste. Dry fry the coriander and cumin until they give off a good
aroma, then grind them finely and add to the paste. Spoon it all over the
cubed meat in a bowl and mix it well. Add the curry leaves and marinate for
Pour the coconut milk and tamarind liquid into a wok and add the spiced
meat and soy sauce and stir until the liquid boils, then reduce the heat and
simmer gently, uncovered, for 11/2 hours, until the meat is tender and the
liquid is very much reduced. Serves 6.