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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Gulai Ayam & Roti Jala {Coconut Milk Chicken Curry & Lacy Coconut Milk Pancakes}

Okay, so.  I made this last month.  And I'm just now posting it.  Story of my life.  How does time fly by so fast?  And without me even seeing it until it's in the rearview?  I do not know.  Anyhoo.

I started making this early enough in the day that not everybody was hanging out in the kitchen yet.  The kids were doing homework or watching tv or running wild, I can't remember.  Hubs was at his usual station in his work shop (aka the garage).  But once I had it sort of all together and simmering on the stove, hubs walks in and lets out one of those involuntary "ooohhh" or "mmmmmm" sounds as soon as he opened the side door (which is off of the kitchen). So of course he moseys over to see what's cooking.

Hubs: "Oh!  Are you making mole?"

Me: "No.  Well.  Sort of, actually.  Penang mole."

Hubs: {eyebrows raised...quiet...shrugs}  "Okay.  Smells good."
And really, although this is not Mexican in origin, it does resemble a mole pretty darn closely.  Layers of flavor built up using spices, herbs, and veggies.  Liquid is added to make a sauce (ahem...mole).  Meat and veggies are given a warm bath and infused with the savory essence before being served in it.  And eaten with some roti jala...or crepes, basically (ahem...tortillas).    So sure, I'm making Penangian (!?) Mole.

And we enjoyed it just as we would have enjoyed a mole dish.  There was a pleasant, slow heat lingering inside of this complex, flavorful sauce.  And although it got a big messy trying to eat it wrapped in a lacy pancake (tortillas don't have holes), we managed.  And we liked it.

Gulai Ayan (Coconut Milk Chicken Curry)

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: up to 45 minutes
Keywords: simmer entree chicken coconut milk Indian

Ingredients (serves 4)
    rempeh (curry paste)
    • 4 dried red chiles
    • 1 (2") cinnamon stick
    • 4 whole cloves
    • 2 Tbs. coriander seed
    • 1 Tbs. cumin seed
    • 1 tsp. fennel seed
    • ½ tsp. turmeric
    • 8 oz. shallots, peeled
    • 1 (1") piece fresh ginger, peeled & finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, peeled & finely chopped
    • 6 macadamia nuts
    • 2 lbs. chicken thighs, bone-in (or breasts, legs, or a mix)
    • 2 large red potatoes, cut into ½" chunks
    • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
    • 2 stalks fresh lemon grass, cut into 2" lengths & flattened w/ side of a knife
    • 14 oz. (1¾ c.) coconut milk
    • 1 c. water
    • 2 tsp. salt
    Soak chiles in warm water for ~15 minutes. Drain the water and pull off the stems. If you wish, chop the chicken into 2" chunks with a heavy knife.

    In a small, heavy skillet, toast the cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds over medium heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, ~3 minutes. Remove from heat and pound very fine using a mortar and pestle or grind in a spice mill. Add turmeric and set aside.

    Place drained chiles, shallots, ginger, garlic, and nuts in a food processor and grind to a paste.

    Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chile paste and fry for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the spice mixture and sauté for another minute while stirring. Add the chicken and turn until well-coated with curry paste. Add lemon grass, potatoes, 1 cup of the coconut milk, and the water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over medium heat until chicken is tender, 30-40 minutes, stirring from time to time.

    Add salt and stir in remaining ¾ cup of coconut milk. Cook 5 more minutes. Serve hot.

    To make a boneless curry, start with 1¼ lbs. skinless, boneless chicken which will cook a bit quicker, start checking after 20 minutes or so.

    slightly adapted from Flatbreads & Flavors
    Powered by Recipage

    Serve this delicious curry with Roti Jala.  If you don't have a roti jala pourer, you can make your own by punching 6 holes through a small tin can from the inside out.  I used a long nail and a hammer...and widened them a bit with a wide screw.  I then sanded off the jagged edges on the bottom...washed voila!

    Roti Jala (Lacy Coconut Milk Pancakes/Crepes)

    by Heather Schmitt-González
    Prep Time: 30 minutes
    Cook Time: ~2 minutes each
    Keywords: bread side vegetarian coconut milk Indian

    Ingredients (~20 crepes)
    • 1 c. all-purpose flour
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • 10 oz. coconut milk, stirred well
    • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
    • 1 large egg
    • oil for skillet
    Sift flour and salt together in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add coconut milk, vegetable oil, and egg. Stir well until a smooth dough forms. Let stand, covered, for ~30 minutes.

    Heat a 10" cast-iron skillet until hot. Pour about a teaspoon of the oil on the skillet, then wipe off with a paper towel. Lower heat to medium.

    Test consistency of the batter. It should be pourable but not watery.

    Stir batter, then pour a scant 1/2 cup into a roti jala pourer*, holding it over the skillet, and immediately start moving the pourer in a continuous circular motion over skillet to create overlapping layers in the pan, keeping pourer ~3-4 inches above skillet.

    Cook 30 seconds or so, until you see the roti starting to lift slightly at the edges. Using a spatula, flip it over and cook the other side for 30 seconds to a minute, until slightly golden. Lift out of pan and place in a basket, or on a plate, wrapped in a cloth. Cook remaining batter in same way. Serve warm.

    If you do not have a roti jala pourer, you can make one by opening a small tin can at one end and punching six holes in the other (using a hammer and a long nail or drill bit) end, punching from the inside out. Or try a squeeze bottle with the end snipped open a bit wider. Get creative!

    slightly adapted from Flatbreads & Flavors
    Powered by Recipage

    And I'm almost embarrassed to admit that this was our Flatbreads & Flavors challenge from the second half of February.  Eek.  I'm only half a month or so tardy.  Does it count that I actually made it in the correct time frame...just didn't post it?  I'm thinking yes.

    I am sharing this post with:
    Flatbreads & Flavors Group
    Miz- Helen-Badge-ALT5 ttt foodfriday BYOB Badge show me what you  got link party

    Would you like to comment?

    1. The crepes look awesome! Such great lace you got. And the curry too, lovely! Glad Mexi love it too. We are definitely a mellow group, posting in your own time is always fine! 

    2. You are not only a great chef, but you are quite the handy one too, to improvise that roti jala maker :)

    3. I just bookmarked this to make at some future date. It looks amazing and I love the swirly flatbread! Curries are my favorite, well done :)

    4. Your lacy roti looks just like a lace doily!  And the coconut curry sounds so good, I'm dying to try it.

    5. The flavors here look amazing and the roti are beautiful! Bookmarking!

    6. You are so creative; I can almost smell the curry goodness.

    7. Yes, I'm thinking yes too!  And yes Hubs sounds right on.
      tortillas don't have holes - some might
      Wonderful layout and photos.

    8. Beautiful!!!!
      You know as I read through ur post I can imagine the wonderful aromas from all the spices simmering on the stove.....
      I love Roti Jala I know it can get really messy on stove making them..LOL But all worth right....

    9. I'm so impressed that you managed to get lace with the hole-punched tin can! And your curry looks wonderful. (We've GOT to have this again....)

    10. This looks amazing and those crepes are to die for!

    11. Love it! I often have to tell hubby...ya it's kinda like... this mexican dish..he is not adventurous at all.. glad your familia enjoyed.

    12. Esto debe de estar delicioso!! y con los cakes wow!!

    13. These are beautiful! Love the delicateness and the savory combination.

    14. Que buen plato, me lo apunto

    15. Brilliant idea to create that out of the tin can.  I'm imagining all sorts of possibilities and designs it can make!

    16. Your lacy pancakes turned out splendidly! Mine were a disaster and I actually didn't LOVE the curry which is why I never posted it...but yours looks way better. I wonder what I did wrong...

    17. Wow, Your roti jala and gulai ayam looks wonderful! This is one of the favourite meals  here in Malaysia! Our Roti Jala here is yellow, to get a nice yellow colour for the roti jala, just add a pinch of ground turmeric to the batter, stir to combine, and you will get a sunny lacy pancake! Besides, turmeric has wonderful beneficial properties! 
      And your Gulai Ayam looks delicious!  I have not made this in ages, would usually make this special meal when there's a family get-together as everyone loves it! Great job, Heather!

    18. Gerry @ Foodness GraciousMarch 16, 2012 at 12:41 AM

      Looks and sounds fantasmical! I love coconut milk curries and usually always go to a Thai place by my house, absolutely amazing..sorry this is your post but your putting me in the mood to eat out tomorrow night and guess where I'll be going??
      Tasty post..

    19. all time coconut flavor hihi!
      i really love coconut! good combinations, perfect recipe.

    20. Thanks for the awesome tip!  I will definitely remember that next time. I can just picture the sunny yellow color =)

    21. Um. I'm guessing it's not NW Indiana? ;)

    22. LOL, yes it is a pretty messy undertaking.  But definitely worth it ;)

    23. It's good to be handy ;) - thanks so much!

    24. There is no mention of POTATOES in the INSTRUCTIONS?

    25. They call me Mellow Yellow. Quite rightly. =)

    26. Thanks for the catch, Barbara. I accidentally added chicken twice. Doh!  I've fixed it...they should be added with the coconut milk (1st addition) and water.

    27. Wow - can I tell you that I'm feeling really lazy right now because making all of this seems like a lot of work!  Ha ha..make the curry paste, get out a hammer and nail and make the roti jala pourer.  You are feeling quite ambitious, Heather!!

      Regardless, I'm really intrigued with the fact that the recipe calls for macadamia nuts in the paste and all of the flavors here sound wonderful.  Not to mention, those coconut milk pancakes are really gorgeous!  I'm happy to hear your husband likes this kind of food.  Mine is not so adventurous.

    28. Thanks for explaining how to make a roti jala pourer and I love these lacy crepes! I've never been much of a fan of regular crepes, but these are gorgeous and look delicious... I am featuring this post in today's Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), but please let me know if you have any objections. It's a pleasure following your creations…

    29. I can't wait to try these Roti Jala out. What a great idea with a can!

    30. Hi Heather,
      I am thinking it counts, because I do the same thing, cook it, photo's and then I forget.   I have never had this dish before, but I would love to try it. I think the smell would just  be heavenly and the spices do remind of me of a mole.  Hope you are having a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
      Happy St. Patrick's Day!
      Miz Helen

    31. I've had plain roti before but never the lacy (and coconut) kind. How fun! The curry looks wonderful too. ;-)

    32. that looks very delish :-) it makes me drool, something new to learn :-) Visiting late from Food Friday, hope that you can return the visit too.

    33. wow, we will love this set of meals...sounds so delicious! thanks for sharing your recipe! visiting from FF, hope you can visit me back. thanks and have a great week. :)

    34. love your modified roti jala pourer! haven't tried this dish yet, but am so sure am going to love it!!!

      thanks so much for sharing over at Food Friday, Heather