One of the things I love about travelling overseas is that you come home with delicious things you want to recreate. Partly because it just tastes yummy, and I think also because we want to hold on to those memories and experiences you got to enjoy. The other night we did just that, with an authentic Malaysian curry. I always thought it would be much harder or more complicated or filled with hard-to-get ingredients. I did have to drive a little to get some of the things I needed for this curry, but a little bit of planning makes those kinds of trips worthwhile, if you combine a few errands together. I confess I was unable to find the fresh tumeric, but I added some ground tumeric and it was fine.
For the curry I used Poh's Malaysian Nyonya Chicken Curry recipe. It was easy! Make the wet paste, fry, add the chicken, potatoes and liquid and let it cook. So simple! One thing Poh mentioned in the accompanying video is that belacan (pronounced bel-ah-ch-ahn) is stinky. And it is...SSOOOO stinky! But it wouldn't be authentic without it, so in it went. It kind of gives the curry a unique pungent scent, but you absolutely do not taste that when you eat it. So if you try the recipe, put the belacan in. You need it!
To go with our curry I also made roti canai bread (again, Poh's recipe), for the first time ever. Why, I ask you, did I not know to try this before now? This was so easy to make! There is no yeast. You just mix and then knead the dough and roll it into little balls and let it sit for quite a few hours before stretching and folding into roti. The recipe says to let it sit overnight, but I my dough at 6.30 in the morning and stretch and folded it in the middle of the afternoon before I was going to be out for a while. It behaved perfectly.
And it was perfectly delicious!
As I was eating this beautiful, authentic, delicious meal I thought about how food transports us to other times and places. How wonderful that, through a meal, we can travel the world without even leaving home!
The great thing about this meal, apart from having yummy leftovers for dinner tonight, is that I made the curry in the morning and after it had cooled for half an hour, I left it in the fridge in its cooking pot to be reheated later. The roti really needs to be cooked right before eating, but I had done everything before I went to pick the kids up from school. When I got home at 5.45pm that evening I literally pan-fried the bread, reheated the curry, put on some rice and voila. Dinner was done.
And I felt just a teensy bit satisfied that it wasn't all that taxing at dinner time.