SOUTHEAST ASIAN AROMATICS, KOREAN CHILI PASTE, INDIAN SPICES, GREEK YOGURT, ITALIAN SUN-DRIED TOMATOES, CHINESE ANISES, AND IN THE END, A LITTLE PUSH OF ALL AMERICAN CHEESE. AN OTHER-WORLDLY CURRY THAT TASTES LIKE THE PINNACLE OF HUMANITY
I’d like to introduce you to world peace curry.
Why? Because curries are better than humans. Curries know how to coexist in unity. Even though at a glance it feels like an impossibility, a chaos without logics, a discord of competing self-interests and cultural clashes, but curries always find a way to be the most delicious repeal of our disbelief. Don’t believe me? I put it to the test. An unlikely coalition of southeast Asian aromatics, Korean chili paste, Indian spices, Greek yogurt, Italian sun-dried tomatoes, Chinese anise seeds, and in the end, an intrusion of American cheese?! It should end in war but instead, it rejoices slowly and bubblingly in a lusciously rich, creamy, intensely aromatic, complex yet beautifully balanced alliance of flavors, savoriness and tang. It tastes like the pinnacle of humanity, our best hope for world peace even against our cynical judgements. And also, perhaps most importantly, the best you’ll ever put in your mouth.
- One 3 lbs (1500 grams) chicken, preferably free-range
- 5 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 small shallots, peeled
- 3 tbsp ginger
- 1/4 of a medium onion, peeled
- 2 tbsp (28 grams) coconut oil, melted
- 1 tbsp (15 grams) fish sauce
- 1/4 cup (70 grams) Thai red curry paste
- 1 tbsp (20 grams) Korean gochujang paste
- 2 cans (800 ml) coconut milk
- 1/2 cup (120 grams) chicken stock
- 1/4 cup (65 grams) plain yogurt
- 1 tbsp molasses
- 6 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 pandang leaf (if available)
- 2 star anise
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup Indian curry powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup halved sun-dried tomatoes, drained
- 4 slices American cheese
- With a kitchen scissor, remove the back bone of the chicken, then cut the rest into a total of 8 pieces, set aside. In a blender, blend garlics, shallots, ginger, onion, coconut oil and fish sauce until finely pureed, set aside.
- Heat up a large dutch oven over high heat and brush the bottom VERY LIGHTLY with canola oil. Without crowding the pot, place the chickens SKIN-SIDE DOWN, and cook until it's deeply caramelized. Turn the chickens and brown the other side as well, and set aside on a plate. Repeat with the rest of the chicken pieces. Turn the heat down to medium-low, and keep all the chicken fat that's been rendered out in the pot, and add the puree. Stirring frequently and cook until the mixture turns medium brown, about 6~8 min, then add Thai red curry paste and Korean gochujang. Continue to cook and stir for another 5 min until the mixture is very aromatic, then add coconut milk, chicken stock, plain yogurt, molasses, kaffir lime leaves, pandang leaf, star anise and black pepper.
- While you wait for the mixture to come back to a simmer, toast curry powder and ground cinnamon in a flat skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it's fragrant, and add to the pot. Also add back the browned chicken with any juices that came out, and sun-dried tomatoes. Keep the pot partially covered while maintaining an enthusiastic simmer, stirring occasionally, and cook for 45 minutes. At last, add the American cheese and stir until evenly dissolved. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and a tangy hot sauce such as tabasco. Peace out.