I’ve been wanting to go to Leiths Cookery School for many years and recently, thanks to the perfect birthday gift, I finally got the chance to cook at this revered school. I had originally signed up for a Scandinavian class which was cancelled at the last minute so I then jumped at the chance to explore a cuisine that I know very little about. The Malaysian Street Food class was taught by Chef Norman Musa who is the Executive Chef of Ning in Manchester and he took us step by step through some of the most popular dishes from the streets of Penang such as Char Kuey Teow, Chicken Satay, Prawn Curry Laksa and Malay Chicken Curry.
I found the whole Leiths experience fantastic and it’s a wonderful day out for anyone who is passionate about food or anyone who wants to learn some new techniques to add to their culinary repertoire. The Leiths team were very friendly and helpful from the moment you arrive and you even get to sit down afterward with a glass of wine and enjoy some of the fruits of your labour. Cooking in pairs (my partner for the day was a lovely man named Derek who certainly knew his way around a wok!), you first get to watch the demonstration and then try your best to recreate it at your own stations. It was my first experience of a cookery class (apart from Home Economics classes in school) and I’ll definitely be back for another in the very near future.
This is quite a simple Malay chicken curry recipe to make but it really packs a punch with its complex flavours. We attempted to make Roti Jala (Malay net pancakes) to go with this at Leiths but I’m afraid I failed miserably so I would recommend plain rice as an accompaniment instead!
400g chicken breast, thinly sliced
3 tbsp Malaysian meat curry powder (available in most Asian supermarkets or online)
4 tbsp oil
2 tbsp finely chopped or blended onion
1 1/2 tbsp grated or blended garlic
1 1/2 tbsp blended ginger
2 star anise
1 cinnamon bark, 5 cm
1 pandan leaf (tied in a knot) or a couple of curry leaves if you can’t get your hands on pandan
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp tamarind juice or 1 tbsp tamarind paste
100ml coconut milk
Chopped red chilli (optional)
Chopped coriander (optional)
1. Heat up the oil on a medium heat and add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook until the aromas rise.
2. Next, add the star anise, cinnamon bark and pandan leaf or curry leaves.
3. Cook for a few minutes and then add the curry powder, water, salt, sugar and tamarind juice or paste.
4. Cook until the oil separates from the rest of the ingredients (5-10 minutes). Add in the chicken pieces.
5. Simmer on a medium heat until the chicken is nicely cooked through. This will take about 15 minutes.
6. Add in the coconut milk at the very end and cook for a couple of minutes.
7. Garnish and serve.