The curry tale

The curry tale

The Curry Tale. Curries dominate the South East Asian cuisines. One of the reasons for the popularity of Asian curries in fine dining spaces is that...

Curries dominate the South East Asian cuisines. One of the reasons for the popularity of Asian curries in fine dining spaces is that in addition to using vegetables and spices unique to their region, they also have a lot of commonality. Ingredients like turmeric, tamarind, ginger, garlic, coconut, galangal, kafir lime, bird eye chilli, coconut milk when used in different recipes conjure up a variety of flavours, yet the familiarity is what appeals to the Indian palette. And if it is curries from neighbouring countries like Srilanka, then the similarity is all the more striking. For example, the extremely popular and commonly available Srilankan curry Amba Maluwa Srilankan (Mango Curry). And rice is the preferred accompaniment with most Asian curries. It may the Jasmine rice or just the steamed rice.

Amba Maluwa Srilankan


3 Green Mangoes (I prefer ones that slightly ripe)

1 tsp mustard seeds

1-2 tsp of chillie powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp curry powder

1 onion chopped

1-2 green chilles chopped

2" piece of cinnamon

2 cloves garlic chopped

1/2" piece ginger chopped

3 cardamoms, crushed

2 cloves crushed

1 tbsp sugar

1/2 cup of coconut milk

2 tbsp cooking oil

salt, pepper to taste

Curry leaves (optional)


  • Heat a medium size pan under medium fire. Fry the mustard seeds in oil. Cover and let the seeds pop.
  • Next reduce heat add turmeric, chillie powder, curry powder and fry for about 20 seconds.
  • Next add onion, green chillies, ginger, garlic and curry leaves and fry till fragrant.
  • Finally add all the ingredients except the coconut milk.
  • Cook covered for about 20-30 mins under low heat.
  • Add the coconut milk, cook for another 3 mins.

Serve warm with rice.

Quotes from the chef: Equal quantity of Mangoes should be used for curry to get the flavour of mangoes and always make sure the seasoning should be balanced (sweetness, sourness and salt)

Ayam Bumbu Rujak

This is a classic Indonesian chicken dish that includes Bumbu a classic Indonesian spice paste.


1.5 kg chicken jointed into frying pieces

8 sliced shallots

oil for frying

4 cloves garlic

2 birds' eye chillies

5 crushed toasted candlenuts (or 10 toasted macadamia nuts)

3 birds' eye chillies

4 red chillies

1/8 tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar (palm sugar if available)

1 tsp tamarind pulp

500ml coconut milk

2cm length galangal, crushed

2cm length ginger, crushed

1 lemon grass stalk, bruised


  • Add 3 tbsp water off the boil to the tamarind paste to make tamarind juice.
  • Add this to a food processor along with the sugar,salt, shallots, chillies, candlenuts, turmeric and 60ml coconut milk.
  • Blend to a smooth paste and spoon into a wok on medium heat. Cook for about two minutes then set aside.
  • Clean the wok, add more oil and stir-fry the chicken, ginger, galangal, ginger and lemongrass for five minutes.
  • Add the cooked paste and stir fry for another minute before adding the remainder of the coconut milk.
  • Simmer gently for forty-five minutes, until the chicken has cooked through.
  • Remove the ginger, galangal and lemongrass then serve on a warmed plate spooned over a bed of rice.
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