Cape Malay in South Africa is known for its diversity in cuisines and flavours. The curries of this region carry a unique blend of taste and aroma that comes from the fragrant spices used in their preparations. The typical Malay-style chicken curry is the characterised by the sweet and savoury tastes it offers with every bite. If you are looking to cook this curry, you need the right Cape Malay spices as well. Here, they are:
The coriander seeds are sweet and aromatic to taste. Before grinding to a fine powder, they are roasted to add a crispy aftertaste. The warm and mild taste of coriander also has a citrus undertone in it. Ground coriander is added to Cape Malay curry to give a crunchy texture.
Cardamom is a spice known to enhance the flavour of any cuisine in the world. No wonder, it is a staple for curries that include Malay curries as well. The seeds of cardamom have a delicate fragrance and warming qualities. They carry the notes of eucalyptus and pungent camphor in them. Before adding the cardamom seeds to Malay curry powder, they are roasted but not too much, to retain their original savoury aroma.
The ultimate flavour of any recipe depends on the amount of spiciness that it packs in each bite. When cooking something as aromatic as Cape Malay curry, chillies help to get that heat in your recipe. The presence of capsaicin changes the heat level of different chilli varieties. In mixed curry powder, the right amount of moderately hot chillies is used to ensure a fiery sensation without burning your taste buds.
The spicy aroma and savoury flavour of cinnamon can hardly go unnoticed in any dish. When you’re looking to cook Malay chicken curry, choose the right spice mix that contains cinnamon with other spices. It adds a sweet taste with a little butter undertone.
Due to their high intensity of flavour, cloves are used in small quantities while cooking the curries. They have a unique sweet and fiery taste that can be amazing in a small amount only. If you add too many cloves to a dish, it becomes fierier than you may like. The powdered cloves are overpowering in their flavour. Hence, they should be used sparingly when cooking Malay curries.
Fennel seeds are used extensively in many types of cuisines, including South African recipes. You can use this spice as whole seeds or roast them before adding to any dish. The fennel seeds are used in the curry mixes to add a slightly liquorice-type taste that’s sweet and intense.
These are the spices you need for Malay curries. Buy a spice mix that contains them all in the right amounts, so you needn’t fret over the quantities to use when cooking.