Chicken Kapitan Curry

When I was a student I had a couple of jobs at local cafes.  One of the cafes had an apprentice chef work in the mornings to make salads and a few meals for take home ready meals.  I was always wanting to get away from the coffee machine and be out the back helping to prepare the meals and learn new recipes.  One of the meals was a coconut chicken curry that I adored and after many years of curry consumption I am confident it was a Malaysian Chicken Kapitan.

This recipe for Chicken Kapitan is a very simple one to whip up especially if you have a mini food processor.  I just put garlic, ginger, spring onions, spices and a little vegetable oil in the mini processor and blitz – that is the essence of the curry.  The curry paste just gets fried a little in vegetable oil, the cubed chicken is then added followed by coconut cream and a few whole spices.  To finish I stir through a little tamarind puree, sugar and toasted coconut.  It is so good!

The best part is that it is satisfyingly flavourful for adults but not very spicy so the kids will devour it too.  Elliott is going through a difficult fussy-eater phase and won’t really eat anything for dinner unless it is mashed potato but he devoured this last night.  Everyone loved it!  A good family meal.

chicken kapitan

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
800g chicken thigh fillets, cut into 3cm pieces
2 x 270ml tins of coconut cream
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1 teaspoon tamarind puree
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons desiccated coconut, stir fried in a dry pan for a couple of minutes or until lightly toasted

curry paste

3 garlic cloves, crushed
a small knob of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
4 spring onions, chop up the white and pale green part only
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3 cardamon pods
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (add more if you want it hotter)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Grind up all the curry paste ingredients together in a mortar and pestle or a food processor.

Heat up a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok and fry the paste for a minute.  Add the cubed chicken and stir fry for another minute or two.  Add the coconut cream, cinnamon, star anise and bring to the boil then turn down low to a simmer.  Leave to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through.

Stir in the tamarind puree, sugar, toasted coconut and then season to taste.  I have the tendency to add too much salt to dishes and you may find it needs no extra salt but I add roughly another 1/2 to 1 teaspoon extra at the end.  Serve with steamed rice.

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3 Responses to Chicken Kapitan Curry

  1. Elizabeth says:

    We had this for dinner over the weekend – yum! The kids needed yoghurt added to theirs to temper the chilli, but that’s no problem. We agreed with you about the extra salt, too.
    This recipe’s a keeper!

  2. Kate says:

    Hi,
    Just wanted to let you know how much we enjoy this recipe… tonight, I’m making it for the third time 🙂
    Thanks for sharing,
    Kate (Sydney, Australia)

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