Its been a busy few weeks and the pantry has been in shameful neglect and I miss it badly. No work on a Sunday so it cannot possibly steal me from my apron and wooden spoon. I love this dish and these flavours. I hate the fact that amongst my travels, I haven’t ventured anywhere where I have been able to master and learn the art and recipe for an authentic Thai green curry paste that would put the salty and sugary rubbish you can buy in a supermarket jar to shame. Therefore with a little research, my (hopefully) good instinct and palate and a huge bomb proof granite pestle and motar this can be appreciated as a good English alternative. Feel free to use different vegetables, more herbs and it is absolutely open to adding a splash of whatever you think it needs. This recipe worked for me (this time) but I find it changes everytime depending on the strength and type of coconut milk, chilli or even the chicken. In this recipe, its important to taste as you go along!
- Large knob ginger, peeled and sliced roughly
- 2 red chillis, deseeded
- 2 kaffir lime leaves
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 stick lemongrass
- 4 spring onions, chopped
- Bunch of coriander
- 400ml thick coconut milk
- 200ml chicken stock
- 1tsp fish sauce
- 1tbsp soy sauce
- 50g desiccated coconut
- 200g sugar snap peas/green beans/mini baby corn
- 8 chicken thighs, boned (optional)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Handful of basil, coriander,and 2 spring onions to garnish
- 2 limes (1 for serving)
- 6oz wild/brown rice
- 4 cardamon pods
- Popadoms to serve
- Preheat the oven to 190°C.
- Start with the paste. Using a pestle and mortar, firmly pound together the ginger and the chilli. Add the lime leaves and repeat.
- Add the garlic, the lemon grass and the spring onions and pound everything together firmly until you form a really mashed and blended paste. Add the coriander leaves and pound in. Reserve your paste to a bowl.
- Heat a heavy based pan or casserole dish with a splash of sunflower oil over a high heat. Season the chicken thighs and fry skin side down until a really crisp skin forms.
- Add the sesame oil and remove them from the heat. Remove from the pan and reserve to a plate
- Over a medium low heat now, add the curry paste and fry for a few minutes until fragrant. Add 2-3 tbsp of the coconut milk and mix. Add a splash more coconut milk and mix in before adding the rest. Add the fish sauce and soy sauce and stir together. Bring to the boil and add about 200ml of hot chicken stock to form a thickish sauce.
- Return the chicken to the pan, try to keep the skin above the liquid to retain the crispy skin but don’t panic if not it can be crisped up later.
- Cook for 25 minutes in the oven, uncovered. While cooking, cook your rice with the cardamon pods thrown in or a cinnamon stick if preferred.
- Once the chicken is cooked and tender, remove from the dish from the oven. Remove the chicken from the pan and, if the skin isn’t crisp, place on a baking tray under a hot grill and crisp it up while you deal with the sauce. Alternatively, remove to a warm place to rest.
- Place the sauce over a medium high heat on the hob and bring to a simmer. Add the sugar snaps (or vegetables being used) and the coconut and simmer for a few minutes. Add the juice from ½ lime and taste. Adjust the taste as needed, adding soy for seasoning.
- Return the chicken to the pan. Scatter with chopped basil, coriander and thin slices of spring onions. Squeeze over the juice from the other half of the lime and bring to the table to serve with the rice.
NOTE: This can be adapted in many ways. Try topping with toasted coconut for texture of chopped salted peanuts.