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Taste the World: Javanese Chicken Curry


This curry recipe comes from the artists behind 2017 WOMADelaide dance show Attractor, who will be taking part in a Taste the World session at this year’s festival in Botanic Park.

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Attractor is a co-production between Australian contemporary dance company Dancenorth and Indonesian trance duo Senyawa, who promise a “trance-noise odyssey transcending the borders of dance, music and ritual”.

As well as several live performances, they will step into the makeshift kitchen in Speaker’s Corner on the Saturday of the festival for Taste the World, which gives an insight into the food and culture of artists’ homelands (see full program here).


Javanese Chicken Curry


1 fresh chilli (Holland, Cayenne, Serrano or Fresno)
6 shallots
2 garlic cloves
1 piece of galangal (5cm long)
1 piece of ginger (3 tablespoons)
1 tbsp of coriander seeds
1kg chicken thighs
3 tbsp peanut oil
2 cinnamon sticks
1 stalk of fresh lemongrass, bruised and tied in a knot
5 kaffir lime leaves
4 Daun Salam leaves (can substitute with curry leaf)
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup water
¾ tsp salt


First, make the flavouring paste. Place chilli, shallots, garlic, galangal, ginger and coriander seeds in a food processor and pulse until you have a smooth paste. Add up to 2 tablespoons of water if required. Set aside.

Heat oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flavouring paste and sauté, stirring often until the paste begins to separate from the oil.

Add the lemongrass, kaffir lime, cinnamon and Daun Salam leaves and stir to combine them with the paste. Sauté for approximately 1 minute.

Add the chicken and raise the heat to medium. Sauté until evenly brown (approx 10 minutes).

Add 1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk, water and salt. Stir well to combine and bring to a low, steady simmer for about 40-50 minutes. Be careful not to allow the liquid to boil; it will cause the chicken to become tough and the coconut milk will curdle.

Add the additional cup of unsweetened coconut milk and allow it to heat through (about 2 minutes).

Transfer the chicken and sauce to a shallow serving bowl, allow the dish to rest, and cool at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before eating.

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