Chinese Curry The Nasty Evil Ninja Way
Most people who mention curry are thinking about some kind of Indian type. There are people out there who’ve never even tasted a Chinese curry! Heathens!
My love of this started when I was very young and doing Shotokan Karate. Every time I passed a grade for a new belt my Mom would buy me a Chinese curry to celebrate. Mmm… the taste of victory!
I’ve experimented a lot trying to make my own, but now know the main part is down to the sauce. You may have heard me mention The Wing Yip before – this is a Chinese supermarket which supplies pretty much all the Chinese restaurants in the UK. This means if you can find the stuff your favourite restaurant uses in a desired dish, there’s every chance you can do it yourself (providing you’re handy with a wok)!
The sauce in this case is this:
I know some will blast me for using a sauce, but this is honestly as good as it gets, so why the Hell would I want to piss about making my own which will cost more and probably be inferior?
Now the cooking part!
The great thing about curry is that you can put pretty much anything in! The absolute bare minimum is Chicken and Onion, I’ve found. My preference is to also have mushrooms and more than one type of meat – especially prawns! I’ve even used salmon cut into thick chunks so that it doesn’t fall apart too much. Lately I’ve also been putting Spring Onion in – normally the white part of the stem because I use the green in the fried rice, but the whole lot is good! I used to use bell peppers, but have stopped these days because I don’t feel they add all that much – but this is all down to your preference! I’ve had Vietnamese takes on this with courgettes and aubergine in!
I’ll say again that your preparation is the key. You can cook the meal in mere minutes, but you have to take the time to chop and prepare everything.
I like big squarish chunks of onion… come to think of it I use big chunks of all the veggies and thick slices of spring onion. Mainly I use button or closed cup mushrooms sliced thickly. This also makes things easier if you’re going to go the whole hog and use chopsticks!
Prawns I leave whole, and any other meat is cut into bite-sized chunks. Remember it cooks better and faster the smaller/thinner it is, so if you’re the type likely to poison yourself on raw meat get it into thin strips! For frozen or pre-cooked meat make sure you have it defrosted and drained or the excess liquid when it melts is a Bad Thing as it thins your sauce. For frozen prawns in a hurry, put them in a sieve and run the cold tap over them until they’re defrosted.
For the first time last night I tried something a little new to prepare the meat. I added a sprinkle of garlic powder to my defrosted and drained prawns and mixed it in well, then did the same with a few teaspoons of Corn Flour. This looks wrong with a white gunky coating but trust me – it was gorgeous at the end! I will be doing this in the future with chicken etc.
So your Egg Fried Rice is done and on a plate in the oven to keep warm. If you’re really anal you can clean the wok out, but it’s fine to just add more oil and get cooking this stuff:
Get the sauce on the go in a small saucepan. Add a few tablespoons of the paste and boiled water in about a 40:60 mix (adjust by adding more water/paste to your desired thickness, or even a little cornflour). Put this in a low heat and regularly stir it through to the end. It thickens up a fair bit. You can also add some fresh chilli or chilli powder to the mix if you want it hotter.
If you’re using fresh raw meat add this to your splash of peanut oil in the wok on a medium high heat. Remember prawns cook faster than most meat, so add these after a few minutes if doing a meat mix, or just fry the fkrs for less if just using them. Most you buy will be pre-cooked, so only add these as your vegetables are almost done near the end!
When the meat is thouroughly cooked through (or even slightly pan-seared as I prefer my chicken), whack the rest of the veg in together.
For a while I experimented with boiling the veg up while I cooked the meat, but to be honest the only thing this adds is another saucepan to wash. And we don’t want THAT, do we?
I like to keep the onion a bit crunchy so the high heat helps to do this bit, and don’t forget to add those pre-cooked prawns or meat now! Warm them as the veg finishes off, and then pour your sauce over the lot.
Fry the lot together for a few seconds to infuse it all, and then pour it over a nest of your egg fried rice on a plate.
Now try telling me that wasn’t the best curry you’ve ever tasted?