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Simon Holst's Malaysian curry recipe - 20 July

Penne pasta with bacon and broccoli

Easy Malay-style chicken curry

Penne with Bacon and Broccoli

Pasta makes a great base for many quick and easy meals. This recipe is no exception - the delicious sauce can easily be prepared while the pasta cooks, meaning you can actually be in and out of the kitchen in 15 minutes or less.

Time to prepare: 15 minutes
Cost per serving: $2.50

For 3 servings
250-300g penne or other 'short' pasta
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
4 rashers of bacon
1 large head broccoli
1/2 cup cream
1/2-1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1/4 cup pasta cooking water, if required
1/4 cup grated parmesan

Put the pasta on to cook in plenty of lightly salted boiling water.

While the pasta cooks, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium frypan. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened. While the onion cooks, cut the bacon widthwise into pieces 1cm wide. Stir the bacon into the pan and continue to cook until the bacon is lightly browned.

Cut the broccoli into small florets, add these to the pan and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes longer. Pour in the cream and add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is tender through, adding a little pasta cooking water if the mixture begins to look dry, then remove from the heat.

Drain the cooked pasta then return it to its cooking pot. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and toss or stir gently to mix through. Add the sauce and the grated parmesan to the pasta and toss everything together until evenly mixed.

Serve immediately, garnished with a little additional shaved or grated parmesan. A green or tomato salad and bread make excellent accompaniments.

Easy Malay-style Chicken Curry

I love Malaysian food and have tried several times to recreate some of the dishes I've enjoyed in restaurants - I think this is my best effort yet! An additional bonus is that it is actually very simple.

Time to prepare: 25 minutes
Cost per serving: $2.75

For 4 servings
1 medium onion
2 large cloves garlic
2cm piece ginger
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp canola (or other) oil
500g boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
3-4 tsp mild curry powder
5-6cm cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise
3/4 cup regular or lite coconut cream
3/4 cup water
1 tsp instant chicken stock
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp each sugar and salt
2 tbsp lemon juice
3-4 Tbsp chopped coriander

Peel and roughly chop the onion, garlic and ginger, then put them into a blender or food processor with the first measure of water. Blend or process to a paste.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan. Halve or quarter the chicken breasts or thighs, depending on their size, then add to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes per side or until lightly browned (it does not need to be cooked through at this stage). Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add the onion paste to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes stirring frequently, then add the curry powder, cinnamon stick and star anise and cook, stirring continuously, for another minute. Stir in the all the remaining ingredients except the coriander, then add the chicken back to the pan. Bring the mixture to the boil then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 10-12 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened a little. Stir in most of the coriander reserving a little to use as a garnish.

Serve over rice garnished with the remaining coriander and accompanied by steamed vegetables and roti.