We just got back from a short but sweet holiday in the vibrant, energetic city of Hong Kong. Although I am an absolute island girl, and I do enjoy the great outdoors (as long as no sports or creepy-crawlies are involved), I am also a city girl (as contradictory as that may sound) -- I love tall buildings, busy streets, and concrete jungles. And as far as cities go, Hong Kong is pretty amazing. It is a tiny little island teeming with activity and action…from executive offices high up in the sky to back rooms in sketchy alleyways, there is always something happening in Hong Kong. I’ve always thought that while other cities may have different beats, Hong Kong has an electric current. You can feel its hum as you walk the streets, everyone and everything going just five paces faster than you, no matter how hard you try to keep up.
The trip was a spur the moment ticket purchase, a couple of months back when the airline had one of their crazy sales where everything is 75% off. So I decided to book us for C’s birthday weekend…just us. We hadn’t had a trip all to ourselves since our little ones came along and I thought, Little C being 4 and Little H being 1 and my mother having moved in 8 floors above us, that it was about time.
It was a wonderful four days filled with tramping around the city for fantastic food (you can see just how fantastic on my instagram), sleeping in (oh glorious luxury!), not having to clean up after ourselves, eating cherries in bed, setting our own pace, popping in and out of shops, enjoying random coffee stops, spontaneous laughter and uninterrupted conversation. I really believe that, just as me-time is important in any relationship, couple-time is important for any family. I think all mamas and papas need to be able to take some time alone and recalibrate, and I’m very grateful we had the opportunity to do it.
Now it’s very much back-to-work mode over here but I am refreshed and invigorated from this weekend jaunt. And although I have a mountain of work to plod through I haven’t forgotten my promise of a giveaway…and truth be told have been so excited to share this with you!
Staying in the vicinity of Asia, I will be giving away one copy of Singapore Cooking by Terry Tan & Christopher Tan. I have been pouring over all the recipes and decided on this to try out (for now…more to surely follow).
Kari Ayam Spicy Chicken Curry
- 1 large chicken cut into 10-12 pieces (I used the equivalent amount in chicken thighs and drumsticks)
- 5 tablespoons oil
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 3 cups (750 ml) thin coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 3 slices fresh ginger
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 tablespoons ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground fennel
- 2-3 teaspoons ground red pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- Grind all the spice paste ingredients together to form a paste. Add water as necessary to keep the blades turning. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a wok over medium high heat and fry the potatoes for 4-5 minutes or until slightly browned. Remove and set aside. Add the spice paste to the wok and stir-fry for 6-7 minutes, stirring constantly, until fragrant.
- Add the chicken pieces and stir well. Add the coconut milk, salt, sugar, potatoes, and simmer, partially covered, for 40-50 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Serve hot.
Note: You can substitute 1 cinnamon stick, 3 cloves, and 3 cardamom pods for their ground counterparts.
I served this topped with fried onions and toasted pine nuts – it’s not totally traditional but I thought it was a good complement. This recipe makes for a lot or rich, creamy sauce so it is perfect paired with mounds of steaming rice! I admit, I have very few qualms about using spice pastes from a packet or bottle but made-from-scratch spice pastes, as in this recipe here, are truly so much more aromatic. If you are pressed for time, you can make this a day before and store it in the fridge, so the next day it’s simply a matter or throwing everything together. I haven’t tried it yet but I suspect you could freeze the pastes too, providing for even further in-advance preparation. Making more spice pastes from scratch is definitely something I want to experiment more with. In fact, the chapter of Singapore Cooking that I am most excited to explore is the first one, entitled “marinades, chutneys, sambals and achars” – delving into all kinds of condiments and flavorings.
And by sometime end of next week, one of you will be exploring these chapters too! As before, no complicated rules for this giveaway. Just leave a comment on this post or drop me an email and that is it. At the end of next week I’ll be putting your names in a hat and will pick the lucky winner!
So we are once again back at the week’s end…I hope you have something lovely and restful planned. I’m planning to pop in on Yummy Eats tomorrow, so many delicious things in store! Are any of you going? :)
Best of luck to everyone who wants to win this cookbook!