My sons love Indonesian "Beggar's Chicken," so I usually roast one when they're home. Last time, I made a rich, aromatic stock with the carcass; with the help of the Food52 Hotline for ideas, I've been putting that unusual stock to good use. Here's one such dish. I've reproduced the stock by simmering the ingredients we put in the Beggar's Chicken in a plain chicken stock. It works really well! To increase the heat, add chilies or a hotter curry powder. We serve this over just a bit of rice, to soak up the sauce. Enjoy! ;o) —AntoniaJames
Aromatic Tamarind Stock
4 cups plain chicken broth (low-sodium if store bought)
2 tablespoons tamarind paste (the sticky block kind of seedless pulp) – the size of a small lemon
1/3 cup chopped cilantro stems
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
Green tops of 4 scallions, cut into one-inch lengths
1 cup filtered water
The Fish and Potato Yellow Curry
1 large shallot (two lobes), thinly sliced
4 scallions, white and light green part only, coarsely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, mashed and then finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil or a neutral vegetable oil
Small pinch of salt
2 tablespoons good curry powder
2 cups tamarind stock (recipe below)
4 medium yellow, white or red thin-skinned potatoes
1 medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
½ cup best quality full-fat coconut milk
1 ¼ pound firm fleshed fish, such as snapper or cod, cut into bite-sized pieces
Juice of a large lime
Freshly ground black pepper
Handful of cilantro leaves, for garnish
Optional: Basmati rice, cooked – about ½ cup per serving
MAKE THE STOCK: Simmer the ingredients for the stock for at least 20 minutes. (Once the tamarind has been in the pot for a few minutes, use a spoon to break it up a bit.) Then, bring the heat up to a low boil and continue to cook until the stock is reduced to about 3 cups. Strain, pressing hard on the solids. The stock will be a bit muddy looking, due to the tamarind. That’s okay. You won’t notice that once it’s used to make the sauce for the dish.
MAKE THE CURRY: Use a heavy pot that is not too wide for this. (The stock should nearly cover the potatoes to cook.)
Gently saute the shallots in the oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once they begin to soften – 1 to 2 minutes - add the scallions, garlic and a tiny pinch of salt. Cook for another minute, stirring frequently.
Add the curry powder and stir to coat. Cook for about a minute over medium low heat.
Turn the heat down to low. Slowly add a bit of the stock. (You don’t want all of the stock going up into steam right away.) Add the rest of stock and simmer very gently as you prepare the potatoes.
Wash and cut the potatoes into quarters or sixths, depending on the size of the potato. You want good-sized chunks. There’s no need to peel them if you handle them carefully once soft from cooking.
Add as much water as is necessary to barely cover the potatoes. Turn heat up to medium and bring to a boil. Add the carrots and the soy sauce. Gently stir, reduce heat so the liquid is simmering briskly, and put a lid on the pot, slightly cocked to allow steam to escape. Turn the heat down to medium low.
After about 10 minutes, check the potatoes. They should be tender but somewhat firm. Let them cook, covered, a few more minutes if they are not.
Add the coconut milk and bring the sauce back up to a low boil. If the sauce seems too soupy for your taste, raise the heat and cook it down to the desired consistency, stirring gently every so often.
A few minutes before you’re ready to serve, add the fish and gently stir to submerge in the sauce. It should not take more than a minute or two, once the sauce returns to a low boil, for the fish to cook.
When the fish has just turned white and flakes easily with a fork, add the lime juice and black pepper. Gently stir to mix into the sauce. Taste and check for salt, correcting if necessary.
Serve in warmed soup plates over warmed rice. Garnish with cilantro leaves.
When I'm not working (negotiating transactions for internet companies), or outside enjoying the gorgeous surroundings here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'm likely to be cooking, shopping for food, planning my next culinary experiment, or researching, voraciously, whatever interests me. In my kitchen, no matter what I am doing -- and I actually don't mind cleaning up -- I am deeply grateful for having the means to create, share with others and eat great food. Life is very good. ;o)