Or better still, Thai inspired Chicken Curry. Lol. You must be thinking, why Thai inspired? Well, it’s because chicken curry can either be Indian or Thai. If I was at a buffet and I had to choose, I will go straight for Thai without hesitating. I love, love, love, Thai food. The clean, fresh taste of Thai food involves a combination of mild spices, unlike Indian food on the other hand which has a lot of powerful and bold flavours that will take your palate some getting used to. This is Thai inspired because I used ingredients very common in dishes from that part of the world but I left out a key ingredient. I am always for authenticity of food, so I wont tell a bold faced lie and call this Thai chicken curry when I left out a key ingredient due to personal preference.
The key ingredient you may be asking is Coconut milk. No authentic Thai Curry is complete without coconut milk, but I have found that I don’t like coconut milk with chicken. My palate just doesn’t agree with it. With fish or goat on the other hand, I have no problems with it. Weird I know. So, to substitute coconut milk, I simply used flour. Before I even knew what Thai Chicken curry was, my mum made this dish at home and she simply called it curried chicken. Food adventures led me to Thai chicken curry one day, thinking it was the same as my mum’s, I was quite surprised to taste coconut and I found that I didn’t enjoy it. So, it is back to mummy’s recipe but a little more updated to reflect the Thai origin. I used another key ingredient – lemongrass which is an essential in Thai cooking.
Lemongrass is wonderful with chicken. I especially love it in tea too. Very calming and refreshing. For my readers who have requested healthy recipes, this is one of them. Lemongrass has very many health benefits especially when used in combination with garlic, chillies and coriander. Thai cuisine is actually one of the healthiest foods out there. It entails a lot of fresh ingredients, lots of fish, seafood, chicken and lean meats with helpful herbs and spices, such as tumeric, coriander, ginger, coconut milk, coconut oil, chillies etc. Another great health benefit is the limited cooking time common in Thai cuisine. If you are looking at healthy cooking, ignore all those boring bland recipes and take a look at Thai food. You will be pleasantly surprised.
You will need
500g chicken breast – cut into bite sized pieces
1 stick of lemon grass – substitute with fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon of fish sauce – optional if you cant find
3 sticks of spring onions – salad onions/scallions
1 long red chilli
1/4 cup of white wine – if you don’t cook with alcohol use water
1/2 cup of flour or 1 cup of coconut milk
Curry powder or curry paste
Cayenne pepper – dry pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 a red onion
Seasoning cube – knorr chicken cubes preferred
Fresh Coriander leaves
1. Chop the chicken breasts into bite sized portions and place in a bowl. Season with 1 Knorr chicken cube, 1 teaspoon of curry powder or curry paste, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, chopped red onion, 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, garlic and a tablespoon of Olive oil. Combine together thoroughly, cover the bowl with a plastic wrap or foil paper, place in the fridge and let it marinade for at least 30 minutes.
2. Chop the rest of the ingredients – chilli, lemon grass, spring onions and 1 clove of garlic. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: if you are using lemon or lime as a substitute for lemon grass, 1 – 2 tablespoons of the juice will do fine. When chopping lemongrass, remember to start at the base where it is thinner and stop right where you get to the tough end. if you chop the entire lemon grass, you will have to pick out the tough bit as it is not palatable to chew.
3. Take the chicken out of the fridge, place in a heated pan and let it brown for 2 minutes on each side. Once browned, take the chicken out of the pan and set aside.
4. The oil will now contain brown bits of the chicken and a little burnt bits. Great, that is what you want . Deglaze the pan with white wine, and watch as a delicious brown gravy is formed in the pan.
Let this heat up for a minute or two and pour the gravy into the bowl containing the brown chicken.
5. Now that you have an empty pan, heat up 1 tablespoon of Olive oil in the pan and sauté the chopped ingredients for step 2. Sauté until the ingredients have softened.
then add the chicken plus the brown gravy to the pan and stir.
6. If you are sing flour, mix 1/2 cup of flour with 2 cups of hot water and pour into the pan. If you are using coconut milk, mix 1 cup of coconut milk with 1 cup of hot water and add to the pan. Turn down the heat to medium. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: if you are using flour and hot water, please mix the flour first with cold water to form a smooth paste, then finish with hot water. If you use hot water from the get go you will end up with a lumpy mixture.
7. Stir, and leave it on the heat for a few minutes while you watch the white liquid turn a lovely shade of chartreuse – fancy word for a halfway colour between yellow and green.
Once you achieve this, let it keep cooking for another 1 – 2 minutes while bubbles form and the sauce thickens
8. Once the sauce thickens, add roughly the volume of half a cup of hot water to dilute the sauce. taste for salt and seasoning. At this stage, I re-seasoned with 1 more Knorr chicken cube and a pinch of salt. Lower the heat further, add the chopped fresh coriander leaves and let it simmer for 2 minutes until the sauce has this glistening silky and creamy look to it. Then you know you are done.
…………….and that’s it. Serve with boiled rice, and garnish with chopped bits of chilli and rings of onions. This can serve as a weekday meal for you and the family. If you want to deviate from the norm of jollof rice or fried rice, especially if you have a dinner party of lets say 6 – 8 people, this is a great option.
One last tip. I like my chicken curry a little thick. Some may prefer it dripping. Whatever consistency that you like, this curry thickens very fast on exposure to air, so serve immediately and get it to the table as fast as possible. You will understand this better if you live in colder climates. It wasn’t this thick when I was done. The second to the last picture proved that. On exposure to air when taking pictures, it thickened, as you can see. A good tip is to leave it on the heat on the lowest heat possible while you serve your guests or your family. That way if anyone wants more, it is still nicely simmering on the stove and you dont have to get up to mix with a little water to dilute it.