Thursday, 5 December 2013

Mummy's Chicken Garam Kunyit (Turmeric and Salt Chicken)


This is a very popular dish back home. It is my mum's "Kay Garam Kunyit" (Turmeric and Salt Chicken). Sometimes we refer to it as yellow chicken as the dish is yellow due to the turmeric. The "rempah" (spice paste) is a simple combination of shallots, garlic (lots please!), chillies, turmeric and salt. 



You can use this spice paste for fish or beef. Every time my mum cooks chicken garam kunyit or any variation of this dish (especially beef!), we kids would be very happy. Mum serves this dish with rice and our favorite French Salad. The most prized part of this dish at the end of the meal would be the yellow oil and bits of rempah remaining at the bottom of the serving dish.


Everyone will fight for this yellow oil.

The lucky person will get to scoop some rice into the dish and mix it around for the rice to absorb the oil and rempah. And that I tell you, is absolutely divine! My mum uses olive oil to cook and we give ourselves the excuse that the oil is good for us :) 


Spice paste pounded coarsely.

I decided to go the traditional way of pounding the ingredients. I dislike using the blender because the spice paste would become too fine. I want them coarse, the way they should be, the way my grandma and mum would do it. And my big lesung batu (mortar and pestle) got a good workout that day. I did the pounding standing up so that it does not stress my back. The usual way would be to place the mortar and pestle on the kitchen floor over some old newspapers (to protect the floor from splatters) and sit on the floor and pound away.


Chicken marinating in rempah.

When the spice paste reached the right consistency, I scooped them up into a mixing bowl and mixed everything with the chicken pieces. I let it sit for about 30 minutes, then I heated some oil in the wok and dropped the chicken in. It is quite easy to cook, just mix it around, simmer and towards the end keep stirring until the dish is dry and the spice paste is slightly browned.



I had to adjust for a bit more more salt and you need this dish to be on the salty side or else it doesn't taste good. The garlic, shallots, turmeric, and salt come together so well. I would say that the chillies play a supporting role lending a hint of heat to the dish. You could leave them out altogether if you like. But please, don't wimp out on the garlic. Lots of garlic gives this dish its distinctive oomph! Unless of course you are one of those people who dislike garlic.



This dish reminds me of home with the added advantage of me monopolizing the yellow oil hee..hee..hee...Fatso can have all the oil and rempah to herself :D It looks like my lesung batu will be having another good workout sometime soon because I plan to cook Fish Garam Kunyit and Beef Garam Kunyit. 





Chicken Garam Kunyit
Recipe source : Phong Hong

Ingredients :
- 1/2 chicken, cut into bite size pieces (about 600g)
- 1" fresh turmeric
- 20 shallots 
- 4 big cloves garlic (and I mean big! If the garlic is small, use more)
- 2 red chillies
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste

Method :
1. Pound turmeric, shallots, garlic, chillies and salt coarsely (you can use blender but your spice paste might get too fine, it is OK but it is better if it is coarser)
2. Put spice paste into a mixing bowl with the chicken pieces. Stir to coat chicken pieces evenly. Let stand for 30 minutes.
3. Heat adequate oil in a wok and pour in the chicken.
4. Stir and cover the wok, lower the flame and simmer. Stir every now and then to prevent the chicken from burning. Add some water if your dish is too dry (My chicken released quite a bit of water and it was not necessary to add any).
5. When the chicken is almost cooked, increase the flame and keep stirring until any liquid is dried up and the spice paste is slightly browned.
6. Dish out and serve with white rice.


53 comments:

  1. Hi Phong Hong, I have neither heard nor eaten chicken garam kunyit but at first glance it did really catch my attention! The rempah itself is so so awesome and tempting and I tell you if given a chance, I would also clean up the rempah oil with my rice too. Not a drop to be wasted. Oh my, I can't wait to cook this and this is indeed finger licking good... Thanks so much for sharing, Phong Hong. Have bookmarked and just can't wait to give this a try. Have a wonderful day ahead :)

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    1. Hi Ivy! This is very much a family recipe since my grandma's time. Very popular among family members and that is why I would like to introduce it to everyone. Hope that you try it and that is suits your tastebuds!

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  2. Hi Phong Hong,

    Blender or pounding??? I asked myself this question too when I cooked anything with spices. Sometimes when I'm hardworking, I will pound or use both if I need a finer paste... but when I'm lazy, I will just blend :p

    Got a question to ask??? How much oil do you use? I realise most of the nonya recipe uses 1/2 cup of oil or more... I'm usually quite "stingy" using less than 1/4 cup :p

    Zoe



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    1. Hi Zoe! You know, sometimes the thought of taking out the blender and washing it makes me tired. Hah! Hah! And I would rather use the mortar and pestle. But of course if the spice paste is a lot, then the blender is the way to go :) You do need more oil for this dish, about a cup. Or else it would not turn out well.

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  3. and i thot it was 'gam kunyit', well, we do pronounced it tat way... had that on sotong... awesome... fingers still stained of the kunyit though...

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    1. Yes, we call it "gam kunyit" too :) My mum gave me some tips on cooking the sotong one, will try that one day.

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  4. yum-yum our favourite dish everyone will eye for the oil my grand daughter will say mah-mah can you please cook yellow chicken for me because I love to eat it.As you fry the house will smell of garam kunyit .You need only this dish to eat a whole plate of rice .Well you make me lau nyiour I am going to cook for dinner tomorrow best if eat it it hand yum-yum this dish reminds me of home eating in mah-mah's house

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  5. Yum-yum our favourite dish everyone will eye for the oil .My grand daughter will say mah-mah can you please cook yellow chicken because I love to eat as you cook the house will smell of garam kunyit.it's best when you eat it by itself can eat with a whole plate of rice must use hand to eat then only nice.Must cook for dinner tomorrow you make me lau nyoiur

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    1. EE, the beef garam kunyit is even better than chicken. Goes well with salad.

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  6. Can't help salivating just by looking at the pics..... bookmarked! So kind of you to share!

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    1. Cheah, good family recipes are to share or else some many people will miss out on this delicious dish!

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  7. Replies
    1. Hee..hee...Jozelyn, mesti masak, ok?

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  8. Memang air liur sudah meleleh.......Aunty Phong Hong pandai masak masakan macam ini. Jemput lah saya kerumah you. This tumeric chicken must be super fragrant and delicious, I am sure!!

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    1. Mel, boleh...boleh...the combination of the spice paste is very fragrant and appetizing. Bau pun sudah lapar :)

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  9. It must be really delicious!

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    1. It is, Ola! Must have two plates of rice :)

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  10. Wow! That looks good. Looks like teh ayam balada that I always buy from my favourite roadside Malay food stall here.

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    1. Arthur, so far I have not come across this dish outside of my family home. I am sure I could have missed it or there are other variations. Whatever it is, I hope to spread the word on this very appetizing dish.

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  11. This looks really good, must give this recipe very soon or it wont get off my mind :))

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    1. Hah! Hah! Thanks, and hope that you like it!

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  12. A sure tambah nasi dish...... looks goood!

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    1. Thanks, Christine! Cook more rice or else menyesal....

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  13. Phong Hong, this dish looks betul betul sedap!!!! Bookmarked, will cook them very soon.
    Thank you very much to you and your mum :)

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    1. Esther, you are most welcome! I hope that you enjoy this dish as much as I do.

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  14. Hi Phong Hong, your mum's chicken recipe looks, and sounds very exotic and totally super delicious! Thanks for sharing this amazing and yummy recipe! xo

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    1. Hi Elisabeth! My mum and grandma's recipes are treasures that I hope to share so that others can enjoy it too and that the recipes will live on :) Many thanks for your compliments as always!

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  15. Your chicken dish looks absolutely mouth watering!! I would like to have it with rice.

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    1. Mich, it also goes very well with bread! Use it to soak up the yummy oil and spice paste :)

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  16. My husband always laughs when he sees me squating in the kitchen and pounding herbs/spices for certain dishes. :P This looks really yummy!

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    1. Yen, I guess the "ang mo" find it peculiar to squat down to do something hah! hah! I used to sit on the floor because squatting makes me tired :)

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  17. Hi PH, how're you? Wow your mom's recipe sounds heavenly. I love the spices used. So fragrant!!! Really looks sedap to the core ;). Salivating here... ♥ Jo

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    1. Hi Jo! Long time no see :) I must pop over and check out what delicious desserts you have prepared!

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  18. Hi Phong Hong, Aiyoh, yoh! Ho chiak. Thanks for sharing another of you delicious chicken dish.

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    1. Hi Kimmy! It is a pleasure to share my family's humble culinary "hidden treasures". I think you will like this dish. Make sure you cook more rice if you ever cook this yellow chicken :)

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  19. Phong Hong, what else can I say, your curry dishes always look so tempting! Though I don't eat chilli very often, but I do enjoy looking at the photos & recipes that you share here!

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    1. Hi Jessie! This chicken dish does not need chillies, can leave it out and it will still taste good. But of course the chilli kakis will say got no kick!

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  20. hi phong hong, just the name itself is already sounds delicious. you really got lots of nice chicken dishes..i hv yet to try your kay hong! i must make that first :)

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    1. Thanks, Lena! Hope that you try both dishes and I am sure both also you will like :)

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  21. Hi Phong Hong,
    this looks utterly delicious! The kind of dish that I would sapu two plates of rice and eat with my hand! Haha! Seems like not only your lesung got a work-out, you sure burnt more calories pounding away the rempah, so you can eat all you want, after the pounding work-out, you sure deserve it! P/s : lazy me would use the blender!

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    1. and... your cake was featured in this months Cook-Your-Books! Congratulations!

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    2. Hi Joyce! Hah! Hah! Good excuse to eat more! Hope that you give this recipe a try as I am sure you will like it. I am so thrilled that my cake made it to number three again! Yippeee!!

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  22. I can see why this is a popular dish. This looks fantastic! I'm craving some right now while I'm eating breakfast :p

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    1. Thanks, Cathleen! Going to cook it again soon :)

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  23. I am salivate even I had just taken dinner!! sound really yummy, must find one day to try this out. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Sonia, I hope you will try it and let me know if you liked it :)

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  24. Hi Phong Hong,
    I always love your mummy's recipes :D This is so inviting. I guess I will also go for the yellow kunyit oil hehe...
    mui

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    1. mui mui, I will share more of my mummy's recipes. Yes, go for the yellow oil. It is yummy!

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  25. Hi Phong Hong,
    How do you cook the fish version? You can't stir it too much right, since fish is more delicate. The simmering time will also has to be adjusted? I am very interested to cook this with fish. Thank you so much for your generousity in sharing your family recipes.

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    1. Hi Butterfingers! For fish, what you do is make a few slits on the fish. Then take the spice paste and stuff it into the slits (and belly) and generally cover the fish with the spice paste. Then heat the oil and fry the fish like normal. One your fish is done, remove from the wok. If you have any spice paste leftover (that did not stick to the fish), put it into the hot wok and saute until nice and brown, then pour the whole lot (including oil) onto the fish.

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  26. Many thanks, Phong Hong.

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  27. Hi Phong Hong
    Would it be possible to steam this dish instead of frying, like what you did for "Simple But Delicious Steamed Chicken"?
    Tks

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    1. Hi Bh Kk! I am afraid this dish would not taste good with steaming.

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