Thursday, April 24, 2014

Coconut Chilli Chicken

It's time for picnic!! Is it that time of the year already? On this side of the world, unless it's nearing the end of the year, it's always time for picnics!! Considering our sweltering weather, what can be better for a gathering with your favourite peeps?
This time round, I decided to spice it up with coconut chilli chicken!! I don't know if you would bring coconut chilli chicken to a picnic but I would. On our side of the world, we call it curry chicken. There are so many variations of curry chicken or coconut chilli chicken all over the world. This version from Nigel Slater's Simple Cooking doesn't use any form of chilli or even curry powder at all.
Now this is getting interesting. The curries I have been eating always use either one or both of those powders. See my modifications or comments in blue.

3 plump stalks lemongrass
50g fresh ginger I used about 2 inch fresh ginger
2 hot red chillies I used 3 chilli padis (use this as much or lesser according to the spicyness level you can take)
2 cloves garlic
a bunch of coriander
2 limes
2 tsp groundnut oil
200g tomatoes I used about 500g tomatoes
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
8 chicken thighs
400ml coconut milk I used about 250ml coconut milk
8 apricots, halved I'm not really a fan of fruits in my savoury food so I omitted this
1 packet of okra or ladyfingers
half head of cauliflower
  1. Marinate the chicken thighs with about 1-2 tbsp turmeric powder for a few hours or overnight.
  2. Peel and discard the outer leaves of the lemongrass- they can sometimes be tough. Cut the inner leaves into short lengths and put in the food processor.
  3. Peel the ginger, then slice into thin pieces and add to the lemongrass.
  4. Chop the chillies, discarding their stems and add to the ginger with the peeled garlic.
  5. Roughly chop the stems and half of the leaves of the coriander to add to the food processor, reserving the rest for later.
  6. Grate the lime zest into the food processor, reserving the limes for later, then turn the machine on and let it chop everything to a coarse paste.
  7. Add a little groundnut oil I used coconut oil and scrape the sides down with a spatula if it sticks.
  8. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce and the tomatoes and process for a few seconds longer.
  9. Warm a further tablespoon of groundnut oil coconut oil in a deep pan over a moderate to high heat and use it to brown the chicken pieces, turning them so they colour nicely on both sides. Lift the chicken pieces out and pour away anything more than a tablespoon of oil and juices.
  10. Add the spice paste and let it fry over a moderate heat for two minutes till fragrant, stirring almost constantly, then return the chicken to the pan.
  11. Pour over the coconut milk, stir, cover and leave to simmer over a low heat for 15-20 minutes.
  12. Meanwhile halve and stone the apricots and leave them to one side.
  13. Test the chicken for doneness making certain it’s cooked right the way through, then add the apricots.
  14. Leave to simmer for a few minutes, then add the juice of the limes and the reserved coriander leaves.

I must say that this coconut chilli chicken version by Slater is absolutely brilliant!! It is nevertheless very spicy with the addition of the chilli padis that I used. This will definitely be good with baguette or some kind of bread that can soak up the gravy.

Did you realise that my peekture above seem to only show the vegetables?? What was I even thinking about? It's chicken!! Geez, this is probably the only photo I have so it will have to do. The chicken is 'hiding' underneath the mountainous load of vegetables though. Anyhow, Mr G really likes this dish alot. I think he secretly approves of Nigel Slater. I do too :)
Let's see what the rest of the peeps at IHCC brought for our picnic.

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