Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Ayam Masak Keremek - Kelantan Dish 2

I was pretty excited to try out this recipe from Betty Saw's The Complete Malaysian Cook Book as the name is really intriguing. According to Kamus Minerva, 'keremak' means various plants whereas Wikipedia describe it as the name of a plant. That to me is of no help whatsoever to clarify the meaning or help explained as to why this recipe is called as such. There were no plant or plants harmed in the making of this dish. If you take a look at the various ingredients used in this recipe, none fit the bill. It was only once halfway through cooking the dish, it finally dawned on me why the name is 'keremak'. Read on, all will be revealed.

One of my favourite spice mixes, and the 'in' spice amongst all the trendy restaurants at the moment is Dukkah. I love it so much but have never taken the trouble to research what goes into the Dukkah (so unlike me, I know) when I can just go and buy some from the gourmet delicatessen and be spoilt for choice of all the different blends. Imagine my surprise when I opened my coffee and nut grinder, the smell of the ground seeds and nuts hit me.... it's DUKKAH ! How about that?... 2 recipes in 1.. I now know I can make my own dukkah at home. Darn! No more trips to the deli :(
After that accidental discovery, I was even more stoked to hurry up and cook the dish. I made sure I read the recipe carefully and all was dandy. The bubbling dish looked kind of familiar and it even smelled familiar. Then I tasted it and it finally dawned on me why the dish is called 'keremak'. It is the Ayam Masak Korma! Get it?..'keremak' and 'korma', one and the same, what an anti- climax! For those of you who are not familiar with Malaysia, each and every state in Malaysia has their own lingo / dialect. So, perhaps, what is 'korma' to the rest of Malaysia, is 'keremak' to the Kelantanese. Saying this, this 'Ayam Masak Keremak' is no less delicious than the usual 'korma' that you and I are familiar with. The only difference is this kelantanese version has a thicker and more aromatic gravy than our somewhat anemic and boring looking 'korma'.

Source: Betty Saw's

1 (about 2 pounds ) chicken, cut into bite size pieces
1 1/2 tsp Salt
3 tbsp cooking oil
2 tbsp ghee / clarified butter
20 shallots, peeled and sliced
5 cloves garlic, peeled
250 ml coconut cream, squeezed from 1 grated coconut with a little water added ( I used canned coconut, do not shake the can, scoop from the top only )
750 ml coconut milk, squeezed from the same grated coconut with sufficient water added ( I used 550 ml canned coconut milk + 200 ml water )
3 red chilies, left whole
3 green chilies, left whole
3 tomatoes, halved
3 tbsp evaporated milk
1 lime juice ( I used 1 tsp )
1 tsp salt or to taste

Ingredients to be ground:

3 tbsp coriander seeds / biji ketumbar
3 tbsp poppy seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds / biji jintan manis
2 tsp cumin seeds / biji jintan putih
2 tsp ground White pepper / serbuk lada sulah
10 cashew nuts / kacang gajus


1.25 cm cinnamon stick / kayu manis
5 cloves / bunga cengkih
5 cardamom / buah pelaga
3 pcs mace / aril buah pala ( I did not add this )

1. Season chicken with ground ingredients and 1 1 /2 tsp salt. Leave for 30 minutes. Heat oil and ghee in a curry pot. Lightly brown shallots and garlic.
2. Add spices and fry until fragrant, then add chicken and stir fry until almost dry. Pour in coconut milk and bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Add chilies, tomatoes, coconut cream, evaporated milk and lime juice. Simmer for 5 minutes more. 4. When meat is tender, add salt to taste.

I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest, Kelantan Month hosted by My Kitchen Snippets


PH said...

Hah! Hah! So, it turned out to be korma and for that I know this is delicious. Love ayam korma and since you say Kelantan version is thicker and more aromatic then it is even better!

Shereen said...

Lol! I can just imagine how your face looked when the 'light bulb' went off in your head:)) You are right, this version of korma definately look much better than the normal korma which I don't really like..watery and all. This would be very nice with either briyani rice or nasi minyak, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I never cook kurma from scratch. I will usually just buy the ready kurma powder. Make life easier. Can you get kurma powder there in the US?


QembarDelites said...

My family love chicken kurma and this would go down well with them....especially with thick gravy!

ICook4Fun said...

Phong Hong, yes this dish taste so much better than the one I had before.

Shereen, ;) ;) don't laugh.

Sue, how are you? I might be a ble to get it from the Indian Grocery store but I am not sure. I do have some kurma powder brought all the way from Malaysia.

Jeannie, cook this for your family. I am sure they will like it :)