Photo: Emma Haberman
Chicken Kapitan is a popular Malaysian curry developed by the Peranakan, the descendants of early Chinese immigrants to Malaysia. The Kapitans were the chiefs of various ethnic communities in present-day Indonesia and Malaysia; Kapitan China, for example, was the title for the representative who linked the Malay rulers to the country’s Chinese enclave. True to its name, Chicken Kapitan mingles Chinese and Malaysian cooking tradition, resulting in a unique sweet and spicy flavor.
Kapitan is a thick, spicy curry whose base is a chili pepper paste – much spicier than traditional Chinese dishes. Traditional Kapitan uses lemongrass and coconut milk to balance the intense spiciness and deepen the flavor. Other key ingredients include “belacan”, a shrimp paste that enhances the curry’s flavor, dried chilies, and a turmeric powder marinade. The curry is usually served with crispy shallots, which add texture as well as cutting a bit of the spice. Read More