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Burmese Dry Chicken Curry
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    Burmese Dry Chicken Curry

  • 2 onions, rough chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, rough chopped
  • 1/2 inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 sticks lemon grass, roughly chopped
  • 2 red chillis seeded and chopped (habaneros work well, you'll need rather more Thai chillis)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 4 tbs veg oil
  • 3-4 lb chicken (preferably free range) cut into curry pieces* (skin on but you can remove if preferred)
  • 4 green (or two black) cardamon pods
  • 2 Tbs rough chopped coriander/cilantro leaf
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • *Curry pieces: cut off both legs and thighs together taking as much meat as possible from the carcass at the top of the thigh, separate legs and thighs. Cut down along breast as far as wing at side of breast bone to expose ribs, cut through ribs at top along length of breast bone, cut through ribs at bottom of breast as far as wing, cut wing at joint with body and remove breast and wing as one piece, cut into two approximately one third along breast from wing.

    Grind the first 7 ingredients (ie up to and including the turmeric) together into a smooth paste (food processor/pestle and mortar etc). Heat oil in wide frying pan or wok and add paste, stiry-fry until moisture has evaporated and paste has started to brown. Add chicken pieces and stir well, scrape bottom of pan to prevent sticking. Cover tightly and simmer for 35-45 minutes - there should be enough liquid given off from the chicken during cooking but check now and then and stir. If chicken does get too dry and starts sticking/burning (and it's never happened to me) add a tablespoon or so of water and stir in, scraping residue off bottom of pan.

    Shortly before chicken is ready slit open cardamom pods and extract seeds, crush seeds in pestle and mortar and add to chicken with coriander leaf, stir and simmer for a further minute or so, taste and adjust seasoning.

    Serve with plain rice or coconut rice. Drink beer: Singha, Bintang or Tiger beers are excellent, Pilsner Urquell is good too.

    From:   Sophie Grigson's Meat Course, Network/BBC Books, London, 1995.
    Posted By:   Iain Noble
    Post Date:   Tue, 29 Jul 1997

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