Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Chapin curry

Rudy suggested to me the other day when we had lunch that the restaurant food in La Antigua is generally very good, there just isn't enough Indian and Thai. And he's right.

V and I are big fans of Asian food and you can generally get — or grow — most of the necessary ingredients here in Guatemala. (Anyone spotted any galangals?)

But the incomplete nature of the local ingredient portfolio encourages a bit of experimentation. I've always thought for example that the Asian diet could perhaps do with a bit more avocado in it.

My recent guest post on Rudy's blog
has encouraged me to do a few more culinary pieces here as well, so let me tell you about a dish that V prepared the other day.

We dubbed it a 'faux curry' because, in spite of appearances, it was conceived to be very mild on the palate (and intestinal tract). The chicken breast pieces had been marinated overnight in olive oil, tumeric, paprika, Guatemalan basil and star anise. V then 'sealed' them by frying them in a lightly-oiled wok for a couple of minutes, before adding chopped red peppers, onions and grated carrot.

This mix was then fried for a further five minutes before three cups of water, a few squirts of cream and some strips of coriander were added. It was then covered and left to simmer on a low heat for a further 8-10 minutes and then served with the guicoyitos and broccoli that we had boiled separately and a bowl of basmati rice with raisins.

You can of course heat things up a bit by adding some chillies along with the red peppers.

We have discovered a source of wonderfully large, fragrant and gently piquant red peppers just a few hundred metres from our home which awaken memories of the fabulous piquillo peppers of Navarra. And in my view these fully complement the well-tempered nature of this recipe with its subtle tanginess of anis and coriander. In some Asian dishes there tend to be too many sharp spicy flavours competing for your attention at once.

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