After a brilliant spell of winter sunshine this weekend, the rain today calls for a slow-cooked stew with minimal effort. I remember a recipe my mother mentioned a few months back which appeals to me now. It is a matter of putting all the ingredients in the pan and letting it simmer. This kind of cooking is ideal when life becomes too busy.
Normally I would use chicken on the bone which allows the gravy to take on the full flavour of the chicken. As time is pressing, I have stripped the breast meat and cut into small cubes. Soon the kitchen is filled with the distinct smell of shrimp paste, lovely aromatic dried chillies and a hint of bamboo.
This dish is usually served with green (young) tamarind pounded with chillies for extra tangy spiciness. It is fairly difficult to find green tamarind outside Asia and I settle for a squeeze of lime juice when serving. Perhaps green mango would work instead …
1 medium onion
1 garlic clove
2 dried chillies, soaked in hot water
1 chicken breast, diced
200g bamboo shoots, sliced
1 tablespoon peanut oil
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon shrimp paste
Pound the onion, garlic and chillies to a rough paste. Pop into a saucepan, add the remaining ingredients and pour enough water to cover the chicken. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the chicken is tender.
Top up with more hot water if using chicken on the bone and cook until the meat is tender, perhaps an hour. There should be some gravy left at the end of cooking.
Check for seasoning and serve with green tamarind paste or squeeze of lime.
Cooking time: 20-30 mins