Kukul Mas Maluwa (Sri Lankan Chicken Curry)
The hallmarks of this tasty Sri Lankan chicken curry include creamy coconut milk and homemade curry powder, which is made by toasting and grinding whole spices. Don’t let the long ingredient list deter you; once you have everything together, this dish is very easy to make. Tiny bird chiles are small but potent. In Sri Lanka, the curries are spicy, but you can use as few or as many chiles as you’d like. Prepare it in advance and you’ll find that it’s even more delicious the next day. Serve with some long-grain rice and a few different vegetable curries.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 4teaspoons coriander seeds
- 2teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2teaspoons fennel seeds
- ½teaspoon cardamom seeds (from about 8 green pods)
- ¼teaspoon black peppercorns
- 20fresh curry leaves
- ¼cup coconut oil
- 1medium yellow onion, chopped
- 6garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1tablespoon ground sweet paprika
- 2teaspoons ground turmeric
- 2teaspoons kosher salt
- 3medium plum tomatoes, chopped
- 1to 3 bird’s-eye chiles, minced
- 1whole (3- to 4-pound) chicken, skin removed, chicken cut into 10 pieces
- 2(6-inch) pieces pandan leaves
- 1(3-inch) cinnamon stick
- 1fresh lemongrass stalk, trimmed, cut into 4-inch lengths, and bashed lightly
- 1cup full-fat coconut milk
- 2teaspoons white vinegar
Step 1In a small skillet, combine the coriander, cumin, fennel, cardamom, peppercorns and 15 curry leaves. Heat the spice mixture over medium heat, stirring often, until the spices are toasted and fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and grind into powder. (You should have about 3 1/2 tablespoons.) Set aside the toasted curry powder.
Step 2In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the coconut oil over medium-high. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, and cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened, about 8 minutes. Add the toasted curry powder, paprika, turmeric and salt, and cook, stirring, another 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, chiles and remaining 5 curry leaves.
Step 3Add the chicken and toss to cover it in the onion mixture. Add the pandan, cinnamon and lemongrass, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 4Add the coconut milk and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes more. (The light meat will be cooked before the dark meat; you can simply remove it when it’s done and add it back in when the dark meat is cooked.)
Step 5Add the vinegar and season to taste with salt.