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Malaysia

From Bonnie Scotland we head some 6,580 mi South east to Malaysia. A country I have never visited ad neither had Ian, but one day we we would like to.

The Malaysian Federation is commonly known as Malaysia is situated in South-East Asia. There are thirteen states and also three federal territories. The land is around 300,000 square kilometres. Near to The South China Sea and bordering Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam. East Malaysia shares land and nautical borders with Indonesia and Brunei and a maritime border with The Philippines. Its capital is Kuala Lumpur and by 2015(this year) the population was estimated at over 30 million. Malaysia is the 43rd inhabited country in the world.

The country is multi cultural and multi ethnic and this plays a large part in the politics of the country. The country declares Islam as the state religion, but do allow freedom for non Muslims…The government is closely linked and modelled on our UK Parliament and the legal system based on common law…

The cuisine from Malaysia is a mixture of traditions and practices and reflects the multi ethnic build of its population. The inhabitants of Malaysia can almost be split into three cultural groups, Indians, Chinese and Malays. The rest of the inhabitants comprise of native peoples, which include Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia, the Orang Asli of Peninsular Malaysia, the Peranakan and Eurasian creole groups, along with large numbers of ex-pats and foreign workers. The gastronomic style today is principally a mishmash of customs from its Chinese, Indian, Malay, Indonesian and traditional Bornean inhabitants. There has been a little influence from British food, Dutch and Thai. This has ensued a beautiful combination of flavours which has put Malaysian food apart from any other.  It is also normal to find varieties of the same dish because Peninsular Malaysia shares a history with Singapore and because of the location and closeness to Indonesia. So its common to see Satay – which I adore – Laska, Rendang and  Sambai in any of these countries.

I opted for a traditional chicken curry for tonight’s dinner – again needed to be simple as it is a week night and we didn’t want to be all evening in the kitchen. Malaysian Chicken Curry (Kari ayam)

The dish looked easy to prepare and even down to the Malaysian meat curry powder, which I couldn’t source so opted to make my own.

DSCF2442Here is the recipe and very easy to follow, toasting spices and grinding them up either in a pestle and mortar or an electric grinder – I did both, just because I could

DSCF2443The aroma that came from toasting the spices was amazing and at one point very overpowering, but am glad I made my own and even have some left over. If you do make it and find you have left overs store in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid.

DSCF2448There are not many ingredients to the curry, chicken, red onion, star anise, cloves,cinnamon,curry leaves, Coconut milk, oil and limes. The recipe asks for chicken Maryland, which I have to admit, needed to look up to find out what it meant and it is simply is a large cut of chicken containing both the thigh and the leg of the bird. Not knowing this when I went to the supermarket used chicken breast and to be honest, tasted nice.

DSCF2450The cinnamon, star anise, cloves and curry leaves were gently cooked in the pan and the red onion was added and tossed around until soft and slightly coloured – about 3/4 minutes.

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I then add my home made curry powder to the pan and the flavours and smells erupted. Add the chicken and coat with the spices.

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When you are happy the chicken is well coated add a little of the coconut milk to bring all the ingredients together, cook for around a minute then add the rest of the coconut milk, bring to the boil and then simmer until the chicken is cooked – easy peasy… 🙂

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The added lime juice and lime to the dish at the end of the cooking gave the chicken a lovely flavour and extra aroma. I used light coconut milk to try and be a little healthier and olive oil oppose to vegetable oil. I served simply with boiled basmatti rice….

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Family Verdict: tasty dish and not to hot, surprisingly, as the meat curry powder contained dried chillies. Alastair helped cook and said another dish he could add to his list for when Emily and he leave home.

This is certainly an easy dish to recreate any evening and now I know what is a chicken Maryland would perhaps use that next time. Its something you could get the butcher to cut for you and we have a superb butchers who would be more than happy to accommodate.

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