Unusual Fact: Sale of all alcohol is banned in Brunei (including hotels).
It feels like such a long time since I have cooked a country, about 22 days in fact. That was way back before school started again for the year.
So finally we have come to Brunei. This tiny country has massive amounts of money. In fact it shares a similar wealth standard with Austria, the USA and Switzerland. The Sultan of Brunei is said to have 7,000 high performance cars in his garage. He is born the day after me, so maybe I can get a loan? Oh and his name is Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien.
For those of you that don’t know the tiny country of Brunei is located on the island of Borneo in Indonesia.
So what should we make for Brunei? That question was bugging me all week. What do I make? I had no idea. I had looked at so many recipes of curries I couldn’t decide. It was just like Bangladesh, too many delicious curries not enough time. In the end we decided on a Kurma curry. This isn’t to be mistaken with a korma. Kurma is a spice mix of coriander, cumin, aniseed, pepper, turmeric, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. We did not own any Kurma powder so I made up my own mix, by mixing them all together except for star anise because we did not have any ground.
Here is the original recipe from Shoon Yin’s Recipes. Note the reference to the mill!!
100g black peppercorns
100g dry turmeric
10g star anise
20g cinnamon sticks
Dry roast the ingredients separately until fragrant, then set aside to cool.
Grind all the ingredients in a coffee grinder or send it to the mill to be ground.
My variation was that we had no aniseed and we only needed 4Tbs not 1kg. So I did a sprinkle of everything except for nutmeg and coriander of which I added a little extra. This smelt really fragrant.
The curry was really delicious. I kept it cooking for about two hours, longer than the recipe said, and unfortunately it started to split. Also the chicken texture changed so that it fell apart and left a layer around the mouth. Other than that, the flavour of the curry from all the spices was amazing. I love curries that are spicy but not hot. I removed most of the chilli from the recipe, we only used about 1/4 of a chilli. We served the curry with jasmine rice and broccoli. As you can see in the picture below I chopped the ginger up into three pieces as the recipe did not say what to do with it. In hindsight I should have chopped it more finely.
For dessert we made mango sticky rice. This is a very south-east asian dish. The best rice to use is glutinous rice or ‘sticky’ rice. If you cannot find either of these them sushi or arborio rice will do. If you are really desperate, you can just use jasmine or basmati rice, these will not have the desired effect though.
As you can see in the picture to the left of glutinous rice (photo by Pioneer Star) the grains of rice are thicker and whiter than that of basmati or jasmine. Once cooked they are sticky and slightly sweet. I really enjoyed the taste. I do not have a recipe for cooking this rice. What I did was cook it in the rice cooker with water filling to 2cm above. Once cooked I transferred it to a bowl and mixed in some coconut milk and palm sugar. I added about 1tsp of palm sugar, so it wasn’t that sweet. The coconut sauce in the recipe complement the rice perfectly. The sauce it a little salty but also sweet, it is an interesting flavour. Make sure that you don’t add too much salt though. About the mango. Our local fruit and veg store did not have any Bowen or Kensington mangoes which are our favourite. What they did have was Mareeba mangoes. I had never tried these and to be honest did not enjoy them very much. With the rice they tasted better, actually a bit like a Bowen. I certainly wouldn’t eat it on its own. Both the curry and the sticky rice’s recipes were from Healthy Life World Cuisines.
600 gms chicken
1 cup thick coconut cream
2 cup thin coconut milk extracted from 1 grated coconut
1/2 cup oil
2 star anise
2 red chillies
3 cm piece cinnamon stick
3 cm piece ginger
4 cloves garlic
4 tbsp Kurma powder
Pound 3 shallots and 2 cloves garlic together. Mix with Kurma powder and 1 tsp water. Blend well into paste. Slice finely the remaining shallots and garlic. Heat oil and fry the sliced shallots and garlic with the spices until fragrant. Add in the blended Kurma powder and fry further until oil separates. Add in the chicken and 1 cup water. Cook until the beef is tender. Pour in the thick coconut milk, bring to boil and pour it in the thin milk. Season with salt to taste and cook further over a low flame until the gravy is thick. Add in the large onion and red chilies. Stir once and remove from rice.
Mangoes With Sticky Rice
1 cup Coconut cream
4 tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
4 Ripe mangoes
3 cups Sticky coconut rice
Mix the coconut cream with the sugar and salt, and bring to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Peel the mangoes and slice them, removing the stones. Arrange the mangoes on individual plates with rice beside them. Spoon the sauce over the rice.