Tuesday 2 October 2018

Malaysian Chicken Curry with Roti Canai.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Heads up! For best results, the roti canai dough needs to be made a day in advance.

Thought I would let you know from the off before you start planning on making this recipe for dinner tonight. Although, the curry would be great with rice or any other flatbread. And I suppose you could make the roti canai on the same day. It's just that every recipe I've come across tells you to rest the dough overnight. Not that I am a roti canai expert. Unlike those experienced Malaysian street vendors, I am still mastering the roti technique.

Today's version isn't too bad but if you guys know of a better recipe, feel free to let me know. First though, let's talk about the curry. Again, this is by no means an authentic recipe. It's just one that I came across online and made my own with a few tweaks here and there. A few key ingredients include chicken on the bone for better flavour, whole spices for warmth, curry leaves and lemongrass for a flavour that cannot be replicated, and full-fat coconut milk for a creamy sauce.

As for the roti, once the dough has rested overnight we cook it. Each ball is rolled and stretched on an oiled surface to get it as thin as possible - thwack it on the counter, if you're feeling in league with the pros. Then the thin dough is folded up and cooked on a hot pan until golden brown, flaky and crispy.

These two are a match made in heaven. The creamy spicy curry is so delicious scooped up with the hot roti. A real favourite in our house especially in this colder weather!

Chicken Curry, previously: our house pakistani chicken curry // yummy chicken curry 

A Simple List of Ingredients:

For the Roti Canai:
1. Plain Flour
2. Salt
3. Water
4. Vegetable Oil

For the Malaysian Chicken Curry:

1. Whole Chicken Pieces
2. Curry Powder
3. Red Chilli Powder
4. Shallots
5. Garlic
6. Dried Shrimp (optional)
7. Star Anise
8. Green Cardamom
9. Cinnamon Stick
10. Cloves
11. Lemongrass
12. Fresh Curry Leaves
13. Brown Sugar
14. Coconut Milk
15. Potatoes
16. Onion

Bismillah, let's begin!

The roti canai dough needs to rest overnight so we will make it first. I've never tried cooking it the same day but you're more than welcome to try. Let me know how it goes, if you do. 
Into a large bowl, measure out 370g Plain Flour and 1/2 teaspoon Salt.

Pour in 230ml Water, at room temperature.

Mix the dough together until well combined and a dough ball forms. It will be slightly sticky.

Divide the dough into 6 balls. Oil your hands to help stop the dough sticking.

Brush each ball of dough with Vegetable Oil.

Cover and chill in the fridge overnight.

To cook the curry, the first job is to marinade the chicken. I used 1 Whole Chicken, cut into pieces. Mine was 700g and had bone but no skin.

To the chicken, add 3/4 tablespoon Curry Powder and 1/4 tablespoon Red Chilli Powder. I used a mild madras curry powder but feel free to use any you like. I suppose a Malaysian curry powder would be the most authentic. As for the red chilli, feel free to adjust according to how much spice you can take.

Mix well and leave to marinade for 15 minutes or until you're ready to cook.

More prep so that we are ready for later. Take 350g Potatoes.

Peel the potatoes and cut into large chunks.

Boil the potatoes in plenty of water until they're cooked. Drain well and set aside until needed.

Next job - blend up a shallot paste. I used 300g Shallots which is about 10 shallots.

Peel the shallots along with 3 Garlic Cloves.

Blend the shallots and garlic with a little water until smooth. You may also add 1 tablespoon dried shrimp, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes. I have read that this is traditional but I left it out and my curry was still really tasty.

Finally, let's stir up a quick curry paste. In a bowl, mix up 1 tablespoon Curry Powder, 1/2 tablespoon Red Chilli Powder, and 3 tablespoons Water.

Let's cook! Put a large pan over a medium heat and add in a good few tablespoons Vegetable Oil. Once hot, add:
1 Star Anise
1 Green Cardamom
1 small Cinnamon Stick
2 Cloves

Fry the whole spices until fragrant then add in the shallot garlic paste.

Stir fry for 5 minutes until fragrant.

Then, add in 2 sticks Lemongrass. Make sure you have removed the outer layer of the lemongrass and bash it with the back of a knife. This will help release the flavour.

Throw in a Handful of Fresh Curry Leaves.

And, pour in the curry paste that we stirred up earlier.

Stir everything in. Now, we are going to cook this paste really well until it darkens in colour and the oil rises to the surface. To make sure that everything fries properly, add more oil. You will need a lot more than you might think.

I stir-fried my paste for around 5 minutes before covering it for 5 minutes which really helps speed up the cooking. This is the end result.

Next, pour in 100ml Water.

Stir well for a few minutes, scraping the sides to get all the bits off.

Then, add in the chicken pieces.

Stir fry for a few minutes until no longer pink.

Next, pour in as much water as you would like. Do remember that we will be adding coconut milk in later. I went for a saucy curry with 500ml Water.

Add in 1 teaspoon Salt and 1 teaspoon Brown Sugar. White will work too.

Stir everything in and bring to the boil.

Then, cover with a lid and cook over the lowest heat for 20 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.

Meanwhile, take 1 Onion.

Peel and thinly slice it before frying in hot oil until ...

... golden brown. Set aside for later. You don't have to add the fried onions but I love the taste it gives the curry.

Once the chicken is cooked ...

... pour in 200ml Coconut Milk. Full fat is best for a really creamy dairy-free sauce.

Add in the boiled potatoes from earlier.

And, the fried onions.

Stir well and bring to the boil.

Then, switch off the heat and serve when you're ready! We ate this curry with the roti canai but it's also delicious with rice.

Speaking of roti canai, let me show you how I made mine. This is the dough after it had rested in the fridge overnight.

On a well oiled surface, press each dough ball until it is as thin as you can get it. If there are a few holes, it's fine.

Once the dough is super thin, fold it over on itself until you have a rough rectangle or square.

Cook on a hot pan until the roti is golden brown and cooked through.

The curry is cooked and ...

... so are the rotis. Let's eat!

I cannot think of a better dinner on a cold October night. Enjoy!

Malaysian Chicken Curry with Roti Canai.

my take on a Malaysian street food classic.

Prep Time: About 30 minutes + overnight to rest dough.
Cook Time: About 1 hour.
Serves: About 4 people.


For the Roti Canai
370g Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
230ml Water, at room temperature
Vegetable Oil, as needed

For the Chicken Marinade
1 Whole Chicken, cut into pieces - skinless but with bone (mine was 700g)
3/4 tablespoon Curry Powder
1/4 tablespoon Red Chilli Powder

For the Shallot Paste
300g Shallots (about 10), peeled
3 Garlic Cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon Dried Shrimp, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes (optional)
Water, as needed to blend

For the Curry Paste
1 tablespoon Curry Powder
1/2 tablespoon Red Chilli Powder
3 tablespoons Water

For the Curry
Vegetable Oil, as needed
1 Star Anise
1 Green Cardamom
1 small Cinnamon Stick
2 Cloves
2 sticks Lemongrass, outer layer removed and bashed with the back of a knife
Handful Fresh Curry Leaves
Water, as needed
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Brown Sugar
200ml Coconut Milk
350g Potatoes, peeled, cut into large chunks and boiled until cooked
1 Onion, peeled, sliced and fried until golden brown

The day before, prepare the roti dough:
Mix the plain flour, salt and water together in a bowl until you have a dough ball. It will be slightly sticky. Oil your hands and divide the dough into 6 balls. Coat each ball with vegetable oil and place onto a plate. Chill in the fridge overnight.

Marinade the chicken:
Mix the chicken pieces with curry powder and red chilli powder. Marinade for 15 minutes.

Make the shallot paste:
Blend together the shallots, garlic, dried shrimp and water.

Make the curry paste:
Mix together the curry powder, red chilli powder and water.

Cook the curry:
Heat plenty of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the star anise, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. Fry for 1 minute until fragrant. Add in the shallot paste and stir fry for 5 minutes until fragrant. Add the lemongrass, curry leaves, and curry paste. Cook until the mixture thickens and the oil has risen to the surface - add more oil if needed and cover with a lid for a few minutes to help everything cook.

When the mixture is golden brown and the oil has risen to the surface, add 100ml water. Stir well and let everything bubble before adding in the chicken pieces. Stir fry until they're no longer pink.

Pour in 500ml water or as much water as you'd like. Add in the salt and brown sugar. Bring to the boil before covering with a lid and cooking over low heat for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.

Pour in the coconut milk, boiled potatoes, and fried onion. Stir well and bring to the boil before turning off the heat.

Make the roti canai:
Take the dough balls out of the fridge 15 minutes before cooking. On an oiled surface, flatten each dough ball as thin as you can get it without tearing too much - a few holes are fine. Fold the dough up into a rough rectangle or square and cook in a hot pan until golden brown on both sides. Clap or scrunch the roti up with your hands - this step is optional but it's what is usually done on the streets of Malaysia.

Serve the hot chicken curry with fresh roti canai. Enjoy!

Keep me in your duas please, and enjoy your curry and roti!

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

Spice Enthusiast
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