When I was younger, my parents will drop me off at Grandma’s before they head to work everyday. My parents would then be back for nice but simple home-cooked dinner prepared by Grandma before we heading home. And during special occasions or festive seasons, I remember how she liked to wear the kebaya, gold jewelleries & tie her hair back in a nice wavey bun. I can still remember certain dishes that she used to cook for us. They were all so delicious. It is a pity that no one in the family at that time were interested in aquiring those culinary skills and recipes. And I was too young to remember what she taught me.
Kari Kapitan is a popular Nyonya dish and is served in most Peranakan restaurants. It is a dry chicken curry. It is the use of lemongrass, the yellow and red colour and sweet and sourish taste that makes this a distinctive Nyonya dish. This recipe is adapted from a book call the Nyonya Flavours. It contains many dishes that Grandma used to make. This will be the first of many Nyonya dishes that I will like to master. And I hope that this dish will make her smile
- 1.5Kg of chicken pieces (drums & thighs)
- 11/2 tbsp of tumeric powder
- Salt for seasoning
- 1 cups of oil for deep frying
- 400ml thick coconut milk
- 3 kaffir lime leaves
- 1.5 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 limes
- 11/2 tbsp of light soya sauce
- Deep fried shallots
Spice paste (Grind or Ground)
- 400 grams of shallots
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 3cm of ginger
- 2cm of galangal
- 2cm of tumeric
- 6 candle nuts or macadamnia nuts
- 2 stalks of lemongrass (70g)
- 3-6 fresh red chillies (depending how spicy you like it to be)
- 10 dry red chillies
- 20g toasted belacan
- Marinate the chicken pieces with salt and tumeric and leave it overnight
- Deep fry the chicken pieces till golden brown and drain on paper towel. Set aside.
- Heat at least 1/2 cup of frying oil in a wok to saute the spice paste until it is fragrant.
- Add the chicken pieces and coat evenly with spice paste and cook over a low to medium heat for 5 mins
- Add a little water and allow it to cook the chicken till it is quite dry
- Add the coconut milk, sugar, salt & light soya sauce, kaffir lime leaves. Cover and simmer at low heat till the chicken is tender
- Add the lime juice and mix well
- Serve with rice and topped with deep fried shallots
Vegetables is a must for every meal in this house. To accompany the kapitan, I cooked a really simple stir-fry okra with garlic and chilli. I need to thank Mister for helping me in the kitchen today. He was responsible for deep frying the chicken and did a really good job! We had a little disaster with the shallots but luckily no one was burnt! It was nice having him in the kitchen and making a nyonya meal together. And I am glad that Mister liked the dish as much as I enjoyed making it. The fragrance that filled the house was both very comforting & familiar.
The Peranakan culture is very vibrant and colourful. A Peranakan Museum has recently opened in Singapore. I will definitely visit it the next time I return for a visit. This is my first step in keeping a tradition.
Please share you favourite dish that your Grandma or mum has cooked for you.