Much as I would like to order food in on weekdays, I don’t. Simply because a) I want to eat something fresh and wholesome after a long day at work b) I find cooking to be relaxing.
Having said the above I hasten to add that on weekdays I prefer to cook a dish which is quick and requires minimal effort. Something a friend of mine suggested I post more of on the blog because she too would rather cook than defrost for a working week dinner – and she needs ideas.
The following recipe is a current favourite and inspired by Nigel Slater’s Thai Green chicken curry (find the original here).
Other than lemongrass, rest of the ingredients are store cupboard/fridge regulars.
Thai Green curry inspired Chicken curry
For the curry paste
a) Lemongrass stalks: 2, tougher outer leaves discarded,
b) Green chillies: 3
c) Garlic: 3 cloves, peeled and crushed
d) Ginger: 2 in piece, peeled and crushed
e) Onion: 1, small, peeled
f) Fresh coriander: 2-3 sprigs
g) Freshly ground black peppercorns: According to taste
For the curry
a) Chicken: 500 gm (boneless or with bones- both work)
b) Groundnut/vegetable oil: 2 tbsp
c) Coconut milk: 300 ml.
d) Chicken stock/hot water: 1 cup
e) Fish sauce: 1tbsp (it can be quite strong so rein in the desire to put more if you can’t taste it just yet)
f) Basil: medium-sized bunch, shredded
g) Fresh coriander: a small bunch, roughly chopped
h) Lime juice: According to taste.
For the curry paste, bruise the stalks to release the flavour. In a food processor/electric chopper whizz all curry paste ingredients (roughly chopped) into a thick paste, pushing the mixture down from time to time with a spatula. Set aside
For the curry:
- Heat the pan, add oil and, when hot and sizzling, add the chicken and let the pieces brown on all sides. Try not to crowd the pan. Tip: do it in batches.
- Remove the cooked chicken pieces from the pan. Keep the oil.
- Add the curry paste and fry for a minute. Pour in the coconut milk (reserve 100 ml to add at the end) and stock, the fish sauce, peppercorns and half of the chopped herbs. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- Return the chicken to the pan and simmer the chicken is cooked through. Add the remaining 100 ml of coconut milk, stir in the last of the herbs and keep the pan on fire/heat for a few seconds. In the end, stir in the lime juice. Serve with plain/jasmine rice. I served it with a side of stir fried vegetables.
On ingredients: When I use a recipe I tend to modify it to my taste. I find flavours to be a good guide when deciding on how much to put of a certain ingredient.
I have made this curry sauce thrice so far; the first time was without the coriander leaves to the curry paste. I prefer the taste of that version to the one where I added the green leaves. The choice, of course, is yours.
Even if you don’t like the taste of fish sauce, please try it, it takes the flavour to whole new level.
Hope you like this dish, which I found it to be simple to cook, fragrant and easy on the tummy.