We are spoilt when it comes to instants pastes on this side of the world. There are instant pastes for every other local dish that one can think of, even for some that you never know exist. Like how we laughed over one very interesting one that Mum got as a CNY gift, Concubine Chicken what?? (Psst, still no idea what Concubine Chicken taste like)
So, to paste or not to paste? It's really hard to decide, since the temptations are really strong. It's hard to resist convenience at a price ranging from RM4-RM7 especially if time is not on your side. I know, I know there's the ugly side to consider too.
Ok, confession time. I do buy them occasionally. Can't help it , they called out to me when I passed the aisle :)) Usually those for spicy dishes which involves pounding and grinding chillies (especially dried ones). One hard task, boy those things are pungent, making one tear and cough plus leaving you with burning sensations on your finger tips for the rest of the day!
So, this is one half cheat curry, well you might say a cheat is still a cheat :)
There's instant curry paste but only like 5 tablespoons of it, i never give complete trust to any one of them out there. So, paste gets half the credit only. Some extras which basically are ingredients for a curry paste from scratch goes in there too. Yes, I still put myself through the painful steps but it's quickly done with when the amount is a lot lesser.
This half cheat version tasted good though. Not an endorsement of the particular paste, just one that meets the family's liking. I was grinning ear to ear when MIL said it was better than hers!
Curry goes well with rice, noodles, bread or on its own. I had wanted to eat it with some string hoppers (it was Friday and I wanted to have a variation that meets my Noodle Friday theme :)) but unfortunately it rained real heavy that evening and the Indian man who comes by on a motorbike to sell them didn't turn up that day :( Otherwise, it would have been nice eating with hands, soaking up curry with the string hoppers, drool! Ended up rice with curry and vege for everyone.
Thought I would borrow this photo to show those who are not familiar with string hoppers. They taste really good with curries, like the one below :)
Photo courtesy of Bharat Moms
- 1kg pork ribs
- 5 tbsp instant curry paste (I used A1 Meat Curry Sauce)
- 4 medium size potatoes (quartered)
- 3 tbsp kerisik (toasted and ground grated coconut)
- 200 ml coconut milk
Addition to paste
- 4 dried chillies
- 3 shallots
- 1 thumbsize piece of ginger
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 1 small piece of belachan (around 2 cm square, toasted)
- 2 candle nuts
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 star anise
- 3 cloves
- 2 cardamom pods (use seeds only)
- 1 stalk lemon grass, bruised
- Handful curry leaves
- 2 kaffir lime leaves
- Light soy sauce
- Marinate pork ribs with 1/2 tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp sugar.
- Combine and grind ingredients for additional paste. A little water can be added to ease grinding. After grinding, mix with instant paste.
- Shallow fry potatoes and set aside.
- Fry paste until fragrant and oil rises. Add in spices (except kaffir lime leaves) and continue frying until fragrant.
- Add in pork ribs and mix well. Make sure ribs are well coated with paste.
- Fry until pork ribs no longer reddish in color then add in thin coconut milk (Add water to 150ml coconut milk to around 600ml). Throw in kaffir lime leaves.
- Add in potatoes half way through (so that potatoes will not be overcooked).
- Continue to simmer until ribs are tender and gravy has reduced.
- Add in kerisik if using followed by thick coconut milk.
- Season with salt according to preference.
- Turned off flame once it starts to boil.