Time: 1 hour.
To be honest (and shamefully), I don’t even know the meaning of Kapitan until I met this lady at a Malaysian food fair a year ago. Kapitan means captain, it represents a high ranking government officials during the colonial era of Malaysia. This position, usually held by a Chinese, holds a significant political power and influence over the local community. This dish is an embodiment of how deep did the culture of Chinese and Malay (Nyonya Peranakan culture) intertwine over the past centuries.
The Kapitan chicken is a curry dish, cooked in a Chinese way using Malay ingredients and spices. The dish did not receive the credicts it deserve and was at the edge of extinction at one point (I couldn’t even find them on any restaurant menu!). Fortunately, recent trends on the Nyonya Peranakan culture spreading across Malaysia like wild fire has revived this long-forgetten dish back into his prime.
The dish, although a little time-consuming, is surprisingly easy to make without requiring much spices. Just add in stuff in the pot, simmer, add in some more, simmer and the dish just came out by itself. No mess no fuss.
- 750 g of chicken drumsticks / drumettes
- 8 finely chopped lime leaves (Alternative: Laurel leaves)
- 350 g potato, peeled and cut into bite-size cubes
- 200 ml coconut milk (Alternative: milk)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 3 tbs chilli paste /cili kisar (Alternative: Chilli powder)
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- [Optional] 2 tbs lime juice
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 cm of ginger
- 2 cm of galangal (Alternative: ginger)
- 3 tbs blended lemongrass (Alternative: 2 lime zests)
- [Optional] 3 candlenuts
- 200 ml water
1. Prepare the ingredients for the curry paste and start blending for that beautiful, vibrant orange paste! Chopped the lime leaves and potatoes in the mean time.
Run out of spices? Fear not! Click here to learn more about ingredient substitutes!
2. Heat up the pan over medium flame. Pour in the blend while adding in our lemongrass, turmeric and cili kisar. Saute the sauce till it become slightly dry. Start adding 4 tbs of oil when the water evaporated and continue saute. This whole process could take up to 15 minutes.
3. When the paste became dry and pecah minyak (oil seperated from the paste), add in the chicken and mix well. Next, sprinkle in the lime leaves and water. Mix well and turn down the heat as soon as it boils. Simmer for 10 minutes.
4. In our almost-final step, add in potatoes, coconut milk and fish sauce. Sprinkle in sugar and salt. Continue simmer and reduce the gravy to under low heat for another 20 minutes. You don’t need to close the lid.
5. In our final step, add in some lime juices. Mix well and simmer for another minute and you’ll get this nice pot of amazing-ness. Serve it on a plate with some rice or bread.
Well done, captains! You made it! The vibrant yellow colour Captain’s curry is now under your command and is only one spoon away from your mouth! Help yourself and dig in!
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