Chockful of hearty ingredients, this ‘curry of abundance’ promises greater prosperity this CNY

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17 — A week into the Year of the Wood Dragon and many of us might be getting tired of all that sumptuous feasting and never-ending lou sang sessions. (Shocking, but true!)

Now that the reunion repasts have been completed and the relatives have all returned to their own homes (or hometowns), perhaps it’s time for a simpler meal.

However, given that it is still Chinese New Year (most of us celebrate till the 15th day), even a simple meal ought to foretell good fortune to come. Flavour is welcome; faring well in the coming 12 months, more so.

My mum would always cook a chicken rendang or a pork curry, typically loaded with plenty of potatoes and carrots, for Chinese New Year. This will always taste better the next day, and keeps well when frozen.


Here is my own take on her curry, still resplendent with a profusion of potatoes and carrots, but jazzed up with a “roux” of roasted tomatoes and garlic. Chillies for heat and some festive Chinese sausages for a nuanced boost in flavour.

Sometimes more is more.

So savour this “curry of abundance”, chock full of hearty ingredients, promising greater prosperity in the beautiful year ahead.


Potatoes and carrots give a curry real heft.

Potatoes and carrots give a curry real heft.


Roasting cherry tomatoes and garlic — making sure to use good extra virgin olive oil and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper and sea salt — will give your curry an unexpected sweetness and aroma.

By puréeing the roasted tomatoes and garlic, these secret ingredients will melt into the curry and provide a surprising but welcome flavour when detected.

This tomato-and-garlic purée will also result in a consistency similar to a Japanese curry, but without the need for a store-bought roux.

Roasted tomatoes and garlic make the curry sweeter and more aromatic.

Roasted tomatoes and garlic make the curry sweeter and more aromatic.

To add greater depth to the flavour base, we use some red cili padi and Chinese sausages. The former will add heat while just a few slices of the latter guarantees a hit of flavourful oils. It’s a subtle but discernible presence.

Finally, we get our requisite dose of green from some siu bak choy. Blanch these just before serving the curry, just enough that the leaves barely wilt, giving the dish another burst of colour.

Red 'cili padi' add heat (left) while Chinese sausages provide flavourful oils (right).

Red ‘cili padi’ add heat (left) while Chinese sausages provide flavourful oils (right).


  • 1 punnet (approx. 10-12) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bulb of garlic, separated into cloves and sliced
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
  • Neutral cooking oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • ½ Chinese sausage, cut into coarse discs
  • 1 litre water or chicken stock
  • 2-3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 500g pork loin, sliced
  • 6-8 cili padi, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 siu bak choy


Preheat the oven to 200°C. Prepare a large baking tray by covering it with aluminium foil. Add the halved cherry tomatoes, sliced garlic and extra-virgin olive oil. Mix well, making sure to coat everything evenly. Season with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt.

Roast the tomatoes and garlic in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes until tomatoes are wilted and wrinkly, and the garlic have turned a golden brown and crispy at the edges.

Leafy and crunchy 'siu bak choy' ensures a healthy dose of greens.

Leafy and crunchy ‘siu bak choy’ ensures a healthy dose of greens.

Remove from the oven and set aside. Purée using a blender once cool. A coarse, chunky consistency is sufficient; it doesn’t have to be entirely smooth.

Heat some cooking oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions to the pot, allowing them to sweat for about 5 minutes until they become slightly translucent.

Next add the Chinese sausage and sauté until some of their flavourful fat has rendered. You may now add the potatoes, carrots, pork and cili padi. Stir briskly till everything has some colour.

Add the water or chicken stock to the pot. Give another quick stir so that any bits sticking to the bottom of the pot is mixed in with the liquid.

Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and skimming the scum that rises to the surface of the stew when it comes to a boil.

Cook until the carrots and potatoes have softened. Lower the heat and add the puréed roasted tomatoes and garlic directly into the pot with the potatoes and carrots. Mix well to combine.

Check the taste and season with more black pepper and salt if necessary. Turn off the heat and set aside.

There’s nothing better than homemade curry with plenty of rice or noodles.

There’s nothing better than homemade curry with plenty of rice or noodles.

Blanch the siu bak choy right before serving the curry.

Ladle the curry onto individual dishes of rice or noodles. Add the blanched siu bak choy. Serve immediately whilst hot.

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