Chicken, Aubergine and Egg Curry - Cooking 'Down Under'

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Have you tried cooking without a recipe?

If you are fairly experienced as a cook, you may want to try doing this more regularly. You could be pleasantly surprised with what you could come out with.

My recent visit to Sydney did encourage me to cook this way. The kitchen at the serviced apartment was, as to be expected, not the most conducive for asian cooking. What was fun was to scout out the nearby markets and try to imagine what I could come up with.

The first locally grown produce that caught my attention were the aubergines. They were huge and seedless. The red onions were huge and sweet.

I came across a stall which sent me to spicy dizzy heavens as I have not encountered such a variety of fresh spices heaped this way. I saw the curry chicken spices.

And the idea of curry chicken with aubergine was forming.

Added to that, potatoes and those ever fresh eggs in Sydney- I became fixated with the thought of boiled eggs in curry. When you are away from your normal home cuisine and freezing in the cold, it does strange things to you.What you may not think twice about can become a niggling fixation.
Fresh spices galore...

Good bread with chicken, aubergine and egg curry. That was the dominant idea as I cooked my first meal in Sydney. The only tools I had were two pots, a bread knife and a chopping board.

It is funny how much you can cook up even if that was all you had.

I said I cooked without a recipe and I am not inclined to give you one as I will normally do. But I will explain what I did.

I heated up some oil in the pot. Then, I chopped up one large onion and dumped it in. Next, I chucked in the roots and stems from a bunch of coriander leaves. It is a Thai way of cooking and I though might as well since I had a bunch. Next up is the garlic (I used the back of the pot to smash them). I normally estimate a 2:1 onion garlic ratio. Then 2 heaped tablespoons of curry spice powder.

As we will say back home - don't play play...
Next addition were the chillies. I thought I could not get fiery hot chillies but I was wrong. These were pretty deadly. I chopped and added some. Cooked the mixture for about 10 minutes till your apt-mates begin to smell it and get hungry. Sprinkle some salt but go easy if the curry powder is already salty.

Then, add the boneless chicken pieces and potato pieces (no need to peel skin if you get the washed ones). The pot was too small to take in bones and all and so, 600 gm of mixed breast and thigh meat will do fine. Cut to about 1 inch pieces and into the pot. Stir and coat. Then add the coconut milk. 1 packet will do.

Cut aubergine added
Simmer for about 20 minutes. Then add the cut aubergines. Cut them in 2-3 inch pieces and add to the pot. Cook for another 5 mins. Lastly, add the peeled boiled eggs. Served garnished with coriander leaves. Eat with bread.

This is a simple curry. If you have fresh spices and ingredients, you do not need to do too much actually. We found the outcome satisfying though I am quite sure we were quite desperate for local taste and just about anything that tasted of home would be great.

Blogging this dish may help some of you to imagine what you can conjure up with a few but good ingredients. I am sure those overseas can be encouraged to experiment and bring some spicy smells of home into your wintry kitchen.

Cooking without a recipe. Start imagining and have some fun.

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  1. You are making me drool with the photos and description of your curry....

  2. Your baking, esp the donuts look great!