I have a terrific cookbook that is nothing but recipes of one pot dishes ranging from soups to stews and casseroles to slow cookers to tajines to lastly, curries. I’m immensely fascinated by Burma and so when I saw a recipe for a Burmese chicken curry, I decided to make it as it sounded delicious. I also had most of the ingreidents on hand which is always a plus when cooking including garam masala (specialty ingreidents add up very quickly).
Although I’ve yet to visit anywhere in Southeast Asia, Burma has an extra layer of mystique for me, even more so than places such as Laos and Vietnam. I suppose in a way it’s the Asian version of Cuba, the “forbidden fruit” if you will. While Americans can travel to Burma on their own volition unlike in Cuba where you have to travel with a licensed tour operator, it’s still incredibly difficult to do so due to the military junta that has ruled Burma with an iron fist for decades and purposedly kept the country and its people closed off in many ways. Last year I read George Orwell’s Burmese Days and while it is not at all politically correct and also outdated by today’s standards, it offers a fascinating (fictional) look into Burma’s colonial past through the story Orwell weaves.
While I hope to travel to Southeast Asia in the next few years, I don’t think Burma will be on the itinerary. I’d prefer to visit there when its tourist infrastructure has had more time to adequately grow and also when its people live in a completely free and democractic society. So for now I’ll amuse myself with Orwell’s writing and delicious recipes that are native to the country.
Burmese Chicken Curry
recipe courtesy of Great Tastes One Pot
1 tablespoon medium-spiced Indian curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
3 lb. 8 oz. mixed chicken pieces
2 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons grated ginger
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 stem lemon grass, white part only, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons oil
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
-Mix the curry powder, garam masala, cayenne pepper and paprika in a bowl. Rub this spice mixture all over the chicken pieces and set aside.
-Put the onion, garlic, ginger, tomato, tomato paste and lemon grass in a food processor and process to a smooth paste.
-Heat oil in a large heavy-based frying pan (one that is large enough for the chicken to fit in a single layer) over medium heat, add the chicken and brown all over, then remove from the pan. In the same frying pan, add the onion paste and cook over low heat for 5-8 minutes stirring constantly. Return the chicken to the pan and turn to coat in the paste.
-Add the chicken stock and sugar and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 1 1/4 hours, or until the chicken is very tender. While cooking skim any oil that comes to the surface and discard. Stir in fish sauce and serve.