Friday, February 11, 2011

Recipe: Southeast Asian Chicken Curry with "Noodles" (Paleo Laksa)

Before starting this, there are a couple things I need to tell you:

1.  The curry powder that I use is straight from SE Asia.  While I understand that it would be difficult to find this brand in a lot of the Asian grocery stores (or aisles in any of your local store), I would highly recommend that you stick to getting curry powder whenever possible as opposed to paste.  Pastes contain a lot of sugar, which is completely unnecessary if you're looking to make authentic curries.  I've taken a picture of the brand of curry powder I use (if you can find it on the internet, even better!) as well as the ingredients so you know what to look for.  If you really want to make this curry (which is reallyreallyreallyREALLY good!) but just can't find the powder anywhere, let me know and I'll send you enough to make this recipe once.

2.  Though it's a pretty easy and simple recipe, it's pretty time-consuming.  This means don't make this after you get home from work and have to juggle kids and other house chores.  Do this on the weekend when you have a couple hours to spare.  And don't worry, this curry freezes well, so you can always portion it out, freeze it, and then take it to work for lunch or reheat for dinner.

UPDATE (20 February 2011):  I have since discovered the wondrous beauty of kelp noodles.  I highly recommend using kelp noodles (found in the refrigerated section at WFM) as opposed to the enoki mushrooms, but if you really want to go with the 'shrooms, go right on ahead.  If you want kelp noodles, I recommend that you rinse the noodles a couple times and then dumping them into the curry and letting them simmer for at least half an hour before serving.

Also, I happened to see this curry powder while shopping at WFM and I think the ingredients are pretty similar to the one I have.  I'd be interested to know how it turns out if anyone uses it!


What you'll need:

-  6 - 8 chicken drumsticks/thighs/whole legs

-  4 large carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally

-  4 large tomatoes, sliced into wedges

Yes, I realize there's more than 4 here.  I put the remainder in a container and stuck it in the fridge.  :)

-  1 yellow onion, chopped

-  1/4 cup of fresh ginger, finely slivered (you don't want much more than this because ginger is very warming and curry is spicy and you don't want a bloody nose at the end of your meal)

-  1 carton of low-sodium chicken broth

-  1 carton of coconut milk

-  coarsely chopped cilantro

-  finely sliced green onions

-  enoki mushrooms (1 packet per diner)

-  3 stalks of lemongrass
-  sea salt (for taste)
-  coconut oil

1.  Add just enough canola oil to bottom of large pot to cover the bottom over medium-high heat

2.  Add ginger to hot oil and saute until it starts to get fragrant

3.  Add in chopped onions and saute until onions just start to become tender

4.  Throw in the chicken and mix everything as thoroughly as possible.  Then cover and cook until chicken is almost cooked through and through (make sure to mix everything frequently so nothing sticks and burns)

5.  Add 3 HEAPING tablespoons of curry powder to chicken.  Mix everything as thoroughly as possible for even coating.  (Note:  amount of curry powder can vary.  If you want milder curry, add 1 heaping tablespoon.  I don't recommend going more than 4 tablespoons though)

6.  Add chicken broth and continue to mix everything

7.  Add tomatoes to the pot and mix.  Don't worry if they don't all fit.

8.  Add the carrots and mix

9.  Smash the bulbs of the lemongrass with something heavy, like a hammer (I like to do this RIGHT BEFORE I add it to the curry)

10.  Add smashed lemongrass to curry

11.  Add coconut milk to the pot  And this is VERY IMPORTANT... using your cooking utensil (like a wooden spoon), gently push the lemongrass bulbs down into the pot.  Gently push the ingredients around to mix everything (don't overly stir!) while keeping smashed lemongrass bulbs IN the curry.

12.  Cover and bring to boil.  Once it's boiling, reduce heat to simmer and let simmer for at least 1 hour.  Do your best to avoid messing with the curry during simmering time.

13.  While curry is simmering, prepare your "noodles" (enoki mushrooms)

If you've never prepared enoki mushrooms before, this is what we do:

Cut the root part off...

Add mushrooms to big bucket of water to wash.  While washing, do your best to separate the mushrooms as best you can.
14.  Add mushrooms to big pot of boiling water and boil for a few minutes

15.  Drain the mushrooms and toss with a few pinches of sea salt (trust me, you'll want to do this!)

16.  Portion out the enoki mushrooms into serving bowls

17.  Gently stir curry and scoop chicken curry over noodles in bowl and top with cilantro and green onions



  1. Looks great! It's just ... 4 tbsp salt? Seriously? I'm sure I could never eat that! :O

  2. Yeah... my aunt had made it with ZERO salt and the result is a big pot of curry that, while spicy, was still a bit on the bland side. While 4 tbsp may seem like a lot to you, you can ALWAYS adjust the seasonings as you see fit. :)