Thursday, January 1, 2009

Lemon Grass and Coconut Rice with Green Chicken Curry

Use one or two fresh green chilies in this dish, according to how hot you like your curry. The mild aromatic flavor of the rice offsets the spiciness of the curry. Recipe serves 3-4.


4 spring onions, trimmed and roughly chopped
1-2 fresh green chilies, seeded and roughly chopped
3/4 inch (2 cm) piece of fresh root ginger, peeled
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce
Large bunch of fresh coriander
Small handful of fresh parsley
2-3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cubed
1 green pepper, seeded and finely sliced
3 ounce (90 g) piece of creamed coconut dissolved in 1 2/3 cups boiling water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Rice:
Generous 1 cup Thai fragrant rice, rinsed
3 ounce (90 g) piece of creamed coconut dissolved in 1 2/3 cups boiling water
1 lemon grass stalk, quartered and bruised


1. Put the spring onions, chilies, ginger, garlic, fish sauce and fresh herbs in a food processor or blender. Pour in the water and process to a smooth paste.
2. Heat half the oil in large frying pan. Fry the chicken cubes until evenly browned. Transfer to a plate.
3. Heat the remaining oil in the pan. Stir-fry the green pepper for 3-4 minutes, then add the chili and ginger paste. Fry, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until the mixture becomes fairly thick.
4. Return the chicken to the pan and add the coconut liquid. Season and bring to the boil, then lower the heat; half cover the pan and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
5. When the chicken is cooked, transfer it with the peppers to a plate. Boil the cooking liquid remaining in the pan for 10-12 minutes until it is well reduced and fairly thick.
6. Meanwhile, put the rice in a large saucepan. Add the coconut liquid and the bruised pieces of lemon grass. Stir in a little salt, bring to the boil, then lower the heat; cover and simmer very gently for 10 minutes, or for the time recommended on the packet. When the rice is tender, discard the pieces of lemon grass and fork the rice on to a warmed serving plate.
7. Return the chicken and peppers to the green curry sauce, stir well and cook gently for a few minutes to heat through. Spoon the curry over the rice, and serve immediately.

Tip: Lemon grass features in many Asian dishes, and makes the perfect partner for coconut, especially when used with chicken. In this recipe, bruise the tough, top end of the lemon grass stem in a pestle and mortar before use.

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