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Posted by portugalpress on December 21, 2017
Whole star anise, coriander and cumin seeds are the only three spices in this fragrant curry

This is a recipe inspired by the Malaysian/Indonesian Rendang curry, which has long been a favourite in our house, especially for leftover turkey late on Christmas evening when those still conscious get a bit peckish. There are only three spices used here and all must be whole spices: coriander seeds, cumin seeds and star anise. Plus chilli of course, and we like it hot! 

(For approx. 500g of leftover turkey)

■ 2 heaped teaspoons coriander seeds
■ 2 heaped teaspoons cumin seeds
■ 4 whole star anise
■ Chilli flakes (or chopped fresh red chilli) to taste
■ Approx. 3cm piece of fresh root ginger
■ One large onion
■ 4 cloves garlic, peeled
■ 1 teaspoon shrimp paste (optional)*
■ Approx. 1 tablespoon
Kecap manis** sauce
■ 500ml coconut milk
■ Lime juice

The first and very important stage is to dry roast the coriander and cumin seeds in a pan until fragrant. Then combine with the star anise and grind to a course powder. Make the curry paste by combining the spices mix with the chilli, onion, garlic and ginger.

Blitz in a liquidiser to a smooth paste. This stage can be done earlier or even the day before. Add a little cooking oil to a saucepan and heat, then add the curry paste and fry, stirring regularly for a few minutes, until very fragrant and most of the liquid has evaporated.

Add the coconut milk, bring to the boil and simmer for around 5 minutes (or longer for a thicker and more intense sauce).

Chop up the turkey meat (I also like to add a little of the stuffing which, along with aniseed flavour of the star anise, adds to the Christmassy feel of this curry), add to the pan and warm through in the sauce.

Add around half a tablespoon of Kecap manis sauce. Taste for saltiness and sweetness and add more to taste. Finally, squeeze in a little lime juice just before serving.

The traditional accompaniment for Rendang curry is Nasi lemak (coconut rice) but plain white rice also works well. Enjoy!

*Shrimp paste, not easy to find here but available at Chinese/Asian food supermarkets is an important ingredient in south east Asian cooking made from fermented ground shrimp.

**Kecap Manis (also known as Ketjap Manis) is a sweet and rich variation of soy sauce used in Malaysian and Indonesian cooking. It is widely available from the main supermarkets here in the Algarve. 

By Patrick Stuart