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Saturday, 9 July 2011

Thai Green Chicken Curry

It's fragrant, aromatic, hot and totally delicious. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...the Thai green chicken curry! You can of course make it with ready-made bought curry paste, however I am yet to find one that beats the freshly made stuff. True, it takes a trip to the large supermarket or an Asian food shop to buy the necessary ingredients (I must confess I am lucky enough to live near a Thai deli), however once you have them all in front of you, it takes 5 minutes to make the paste. And your kitchen will smell fantastic!

INGREDIENTS (for 2-3 people)

For the curry paste
  • 2 lemongrass stalks (remove the tougher outer leaves)
  • 8 leaves of sweet Thai basil
  • 4 hot green chillies
  • A thumb-size piece of galangal
  • 2 shallots
  • Three cloves of garlic
  • A large handful of coriander (leaves and stalks)
  • The zest and juice of one lime
  • 2 tsp of coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp of black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp of fish sauce (nam pla)

For the curry (you can use other vegetables if you prefer, e.g. baby corn, mushrooms, peppers etc.)
  • Two free range/organic chicken breasts (chopped in bite-size pieces)
  • 8 mini aubergines
  • Some green beans
  • A large courgette
  • 400 ml of coconut milk
  • 400 ml of chicken stock
  • 1 tbs of fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 8 kaffir lime leaves
  • About 10 sweet Thai basil leaves (stalks attached)
  • Groundnut oil
Start by making your curry paste. Roughly chop your ingredients, then put them all in a food processor and whizz to a paste. Add a little groundnut oil if the mixture is too dry and does not blend properly. Then scrape your mixture into a bowl and set aside for later.

Heat a bit of groundnut oil in a cast iron pan and brown the chicken pieces in batches, reserving the cooked chicken in a separate plate. Fry the curry paste for a few minutes in the hot pan (add a little more oil if needed), at gentle heat; then add the chicken stock, coconut milk, fish sauce, vegetables, kaffir lime and sweet basil leaves, and leave it to simmer for 10/15 minutes. Finally add the chicken pieces and let it cook for a further 5 minutes (check that the meat is cooked through).

Let it rest for 10 minutes and fish out the basil and lime leaves prior to dishing the curry out.  It is typically served with steamed jasmine rice, however I realised at the last minute that I only had a mixture of basmati and wild rice at home, so I went with that one. Not a bad accompaniment at all, if you want to know :-)

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