Coconut Curry and Charred Corn

With the variety of instant curry pastes that fill the supermarkets and take away curry joints around the neighborhood, its hardly ever tempting to make your own curry at home.

After all, whilst I enjoy eating curry, the lingering scent that seem to seep into your very pores and cling onto the walls of your kitchen leaves me far from wanting to indulge in the time consuming task of making my own curry paste in the confines of my small kitchen.

So when I picked up the Burma Superstar book and saw the wealth of mouthwatering recipes in it, I knew I had to get over my weariness of making my own curry paste and get into the kitchen to make my myself a bowl of curry. Especially when said book tells you that if you were to “make only one curry from this book, let it be this one”, you listen, and make that curry.

To be honest, this curry was very different from the curries that I am used to. Its mildly spiced and creamy, with a mellow sweetness that comes from the abundance of onions that takes its time to bathe in the curry sauce whilst the chicken cooks.

It only seemed natural to me to pair this dish with charred corn and again more onions to provide that textural difference and additional smokiness which compliments subtle fruitiness of the coconut curry.

Coconut Curry and Charred Corn

Serves 3-4
Adapted from Burma Superstar Cookbook

Coconut Curry

What you’ll need

  • 800 grams boneless, skinless chicken thighs (fat trimmed and sliced into 1 inch pieces)
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil (I used rice bran)
  • 3 cups finely diced brown onions
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 400ml can of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 400ml water
  • 2 tsp Madras curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • Coriander and Lime to garnish

Make it!

  1. Mix together the chicken, paprika, turmeric and salt in a bowl and leave to marinate overnight or at least for 1 hour if possible.
  2. When you are ready to cook, heat oil on medium heat until hot and add the onions, reduce the heat to medium-low and slowly cook the onions for 10 minutes stirring often until the onions have softened.
    You want to cook the onions off and remove the harsh taste but not caramelize it. The onions shouldn’t take on much color if any at all.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for another 5 more minutes.
  4. Add the chicken and stir until the spices start to release their scent and meld together with the onions. It should only take a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the coconut milk, and increase the heat to bring to a near boil. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes to allow some of the water to evaporate and to thicken the mixture.
  6. Add the fish sauce and water and increase the heat to bring it to a near boil.
  7. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour uncovered allowing the chicken to slowly mix with the other flavors. Give it a stir ever 15 minutes just to ensure nothing is sticking to the pot.
    If you feel that the water is evaporating too quickly, cover and leave slightly ajar. The onions will start to break down and thicken the curry sauce whilst adding some mellow sweetness along with the coconut milk.
  8. Stir in the cayenne, curry powder and chili powder.
  9. Turn off the heat, cover and let the curry sit for 30 minutes if you have the time. The curry will taste even better after resting overnight as the flavors will permeate the chicken during that long rest.
  10. Garnish with chopped coriander and a squeeze of fresh lime before serving.

Charred Corn

What you’ll need

  • 4 ears of corn
  • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp cooking oil (I used rice bran due to the high smoking point)
  • 1 cup brown onion (diced into approx 1 cm or 1/3″ pieces)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes

Make it!

  1. Remove silk and husk from the corn and sliced the kernels off the corn. To do this, stand the corn upright and slice downwards close to the cob. (Reserve the cobs rather than throw it away as it’s a good way to sweeten any future soup stock you might make)
  2. Heat a cast iron pan over high flames until hot, add 2 tbsp of oil, when the oil starts to smoke, add the diced onions. Remove the onions when they have started to slightly char and place to one side when .
    You will want to watch the onions when you cook it. We want to char the onions but not burn it into a black mess. Do not over stir the onions as you will make it sweat, allow it to sear on the hot surface until it takes on a color before giving it a stir.
  3. Heat 1 tsp of oil over med-high heat in the pan and when it starts to smoke, add the corn. Cook until it starts to take on a charred look. You want the corn to retain a bite and not turn mushy, depending on your flames, you could achieve this in 2 minutes.
    Some corn might start to pop, if it starts popping, just cover with a lid slightly to prevent it from popping out of the pan.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add back the onions. Season with salt, chili flakes and serve warm.

Notes:

  • I found the original curry to be slightly lacking in flavor so adjusted the spice mix.
  • I also wanted the onions in the charred corn dish to retain it’s crunch so I recommend cooking it over high flames over a shorter period of time as oppose to the lower heat and extended time period the book suggested.
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