MasterChef Australia Season 4 draws on the success of the past series, adding a few new twists and turns along the way while delivering exciting challenges.
Lifetime, a leading channel for women in the U.S featuring high quality dramas, movies and reality series that are inspirational and empowering, is finally lunched in Asia (Channel 514 on Starhub TV).
Lifetime Asia brings the highly anticipated MasterChef Australia Season 4 to our television screens, along with other reality hits including My Life is a Lifetime Movie, The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet, Be The Boss, Dance Moms, and The Week The Women Went.
I had the privilege of meeting up with Audra Morrice, a Singapore-born contestant of MasterChef Australia Season 4, who shared with us her background story and her cooking influences –which revolves hugely around Indian spices and fresh Asian ingredients.
We took a stroll along the streets of Little India, where we discovered new ingredients, and also bagged home ingredients to cook Nonya Chicken Curry.
You’re always encouraged to feel and smell the ingredients to get a better understanding of them –then marvel at the flavours upon cooking.
To be frank, I’ve never cooked curry from scratch using fresh spices. Convenience is always the keyword in my family’s cooking dictionary, hence pre-mixed curry powder and curry pastes are frequently utilised.
One of the ingredients I find rather crucial in heightening the flavour profile of curry is fresh turmeric. Turmeric powder is often utilised for adding an orangey tint to curries. Fresh turmeric not only gives you a more intense colour, but also gives an added boost of flavour. That ingredient, working alongside other fresh ingredients, will give an immensely flavoured curry you will want to cook over and over again.
Nonya Chicken Curry by Audra Morrice
- 1kg whole chicken, cut into 12-14 pieces
- 240g or 5 small potatoes, peeled and halved
- 1 pandan/screwpine leaf, tied into a knot (optional)
- 2 kaffir lime leaf
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1 ½ tsp salt or to taste
- ½-1 tsp sugar
- 1 large Spanish onion, peeled, cut into wedges
- 1 tbsp or 10g long dried red chillies, soaked in hot water, drained, coarsely ground
- 1 tbsp or 2 long fresh red chillies, coarsely ground
- 4cm pieces fresh turmeric or 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 4cm piece galangal, sliced
- 4cm piece ginger, skinned
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 candlenuts
- 1 rounded tsp blachan, wrapped in foil and toasted in a dry pan until fragrant
- 2 stalks lemongrass, white part only
- 2 tbsp ground coriander
In a blender or mortar and pestle, grind onion, chillies, turmeric, galangal, ginger, garlic, candlenuts and blachan to a paste.
Heat 4 tbsp of oil in a large pot, add the rempah and lemongrass and cook on medium heat until fragrant, add the ground coriander and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add chicken pieces, pandan and kaffir lime leaves, stir until well coated, then add the potatoes and coconut milk, stir well and cook until both chicken and potatoes are cooked and tender. Season with salt and sugar. Be careful not to break up the potatoes when stirring.
The result is a thick, full-flavoured pot of curry, speckled with traces of chilli that isn’t tongue-blisteringly spicy.
This recipe is definitely a keeper. For those who’ve not attempted making curry from scratch, step out of your comfort zone and follow this easy-to-follow recipe. You won’t regret it!