This is a delicious recipe. It has overtones of Malaysian Nonya which may in fact be the contribution because of the strong ties with the Singapore and Malaysian Chinese community. It certainly doesn't look Khmer in ingredients as such although many of these ingredients are used in Khmer recipes but not in the blend that is seen in this. It's certainly an easier recipe than the Nonya recipes but gives as satisfying an end product.



Ingredients:
Kroeung (Paste):
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and sliced into 2.5 cm (1 in) sections
  • 2-3 dried  Thai chillies or 1 1/2 dried habanero chillie, soaked, seeded, and deveined
  • 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large shallot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cm (1/2 in)  galangal (substitution with ginger gives a totally different flavour)
  • 6 cardamom seeds
  • 16 peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (coriander) roots and stems. {The roots have a stronger flavour and are a great resource for cooking}
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 2 1/2 tsp shrimp paste

General:
  • 1 1/2 cinnamon sticks, cracked
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 135 ml (1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp) vegetable oil
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 500-750 gm (1 – 1 1/2 lb) chicken breast, drumsticks and wings
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 500-750 g (1 – 1 1/2 lb) potatoes, peeled and cut into 0.5 cm (1/4 in) thick slices

Method:
  1. First, make the paste(kroeung):
  2. Pound or food process the lemongrass, galangal, garlic, shallot, cardamon, peppercorns, coriander seeds, cilantro, turmeric and shrimp paste. If pounded with a pestle in a mortar, the rule of thumb is to start with dry ingredients first then add the moist followed by the wet ingredients. This order facilitates the easiest pounding.
  3. Heat oil in wok, and add the homogenised paste . Fry for about 5 minutes to bring out the aroma of the spice ingredients.
  4. Add half the coconut milk and 1 tbsp oil. Reduce this to drive off the moisture and stop when you notice the paste coming away from the edges and maybe a sheen on the surface of the mixture. This process really highlights the aromatic aspects of the curry and is termed "roasting the curry".
  5. Add the "roasted" curry paste and  the chicken, onion, fish sauce, sugar, star anise, cinnamon and salt, and cook for 5 minutes. Add rest of coconut milk, and continue to cook.
  6. Meanwhile, heat 1/2 cup oil in a large skillet; fry potatoes until golden brown. Add them to the main pot when done; cook for a few more minutes to let the sauce pervade the potatoes.