Cambodian Chicken Curry Bread Bowl

As a home cook I am always trying to find ways to dress up a dish or update and add new things to an already existing one. Cambodian Chicken Curry Bread Bowl, សម្លការីសាច់មាន់ខ្មែរនឹងនុំបុ័ង (Somlaw Kari Sach Mon Khmer Nung Num Bang) has long been on my list to try and make at home. Beside eating chicken curry with steam rice or with rice noodles Cambodian also enjoy mopping up the sauce with bread (French, baguette, or Naan). The sight of the Pacific Coast clam chowder with the cute little sourdough bread bowl sitting right next to it available at my local Safeway supermarket every Fridays reminds me even more that I need to try it out with my Cambodian chicken curry.

I called my recipe Cambodian Chicken Curry because the paste used is made with Khmer Kroeung. Khmer Kroeung is made with all natural ingredients, no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives like some store bought curry paste and sauce. For those who don’t have access to Khmer Kroeung I suppose you can substitute it with store bought Thai curry paste or the Lee Kum Kee curry paste in a jar. You just would not refer to it as Cambodian Chicken Curry. However you might have to adjust the seasoning as well as the other ingredients as those store bought curry paste tend to have their own spice as well as other ingredients included already.

Also some note I want to add is that if you are planning to enjoy the curry with rice noodles or bread you might want to use a bit more stock/water and adjust to taste since they tend to soak up the curry more as suppose to having the curry as an accompany with steam rice. The potatoes you use will also play a part in how thick or thin the curry gets. Some potatoes like the russet potatoes have a high starch content which means that they tend to fall apart and turns mushy during cooking. These potatoes are best reserve for baking or making mashed potatoes. Those with a low starch content, like red-skinned potatoes, hold their shape after cooking, and are great for this curry. The small ones you don’t need to cut them. Also leaving the skin off or on is totally a personal preference. Some also prefer using sweet potatoes. If potatoes is not what you prefer you can also add vegetables of your choice.

Cambodian Chicken Curry Bread Bowl (serve 3-4 if accompany with steam rice)
(Somlaw Kari Sach Mon Khmer Nung Num Bang) សម្លការីសាច់មាន់ខ្មែរនឹងនុំបុ័ង

2 tablespoons Khmer Kroeung
3 dried chili, discard stems and seeds then soak in hot water until soften, strain and discard the liquid
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 tablespoon palm sugar
2 lbs chicken, cut into big chunks (I used skinless bone-in thighs)
1 lb potatoes, cut into big chunks
2 cups chicken stock or water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
cilantro sprig for garnishing

Use either a mortar & pestle or a blender to puree the Khmer Kroeung and the soften dried chili into a paste. If using a blender add enough water just to get the motor running.

Heat a pot and add the paste. Stir fry for 1 minute or until the liquid has evaporate. Be careful not to burn it. Reduce the heat if necessary.

Add coconut milk and stir constantly until the oils from the coconut milk starts to separate.

Add palm sugar and shrimp paste and stir until it dissolves.

Next, add chicken and potatoes and stir to coat.

Add chicken stock or water. Depending on the size of the pot you are using the liquid should cover about 1 inch above.

Allow the pot to come to a full boil for 4-5 minutes then reduce the heat and simmer for another 20 minutes or until the chicken and potatoes are cook but not mushy. This is why it is crucial that you cut the chicken and potatoes into large chunks so they do not break apart during simmer.

Finally season with fish sauce. Taste and adjust accordingly.

This curry can be served with steam rice, rice noodles or bread of your choice. Optional, squeeze lime juice and garnish with cilantro just before serving. ENJOY!

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