№ 11 Viet­namese chicken and lemon­grass curry

The Guardian Weekly - - Culture - By Thomasina Miers

Prep 20 min Cook 35 min Serves 6 • DAIRY FREE • GLUTEN FREE

In­gre­di­ents 1 large onion, peeled and finely sliced 1 tbsp ground turmeric 2 tbsp mild curry pow­der 800g crown prince squash, peeled, de­seeded and cut into wal­nut-sized cubes 400ml (1 tin) co­conut cream 1 tbsp palm sugar Salt 600g chicken thigh fil­lets, cut into large chunks 400g pak choi, roughly chopped Roasted peanuts, chopped, to serve Steamed rice

For the curry paste

2-3 bird’s eye chill­ies 1 small hand­ful co­rian­der roots and stalks, washed (save leaves for serv­ing) 6 gar­lic cloves, peeled 2 lemon­grass stalks, outer layer peeled away and stalks roughly chopped 1 large knob fresh galan­gal, peeled, or 1 tbsp galan­gal paste 1½ tbsp ta­marind paste (homemade or bought) 4 tbsp rape­seed oil

There is some­thing me­thing th ther­a­peu­tic about mak­ing a quick curry paste at home. Few things can beat the smell of freshly ground spices and aro­mat­ics – es­pe­cially when they hit the hot metal of a wok. Now that in­gre­di­ents such as ta­marind, galan­gal and lemon­grass are stocked at larger su­per­mar­kets, it is also an easy so­lu­tion for a mid­week din­ner. This mouth­wa­ter­ing curry is eas­ily made ve­gan if you swap the chicken for more pump­kin or an­other vegetable like halved brus­sels sprouts.

Method

First make the chilli paste: put all the in­gre­di­ents ex­cept the oil in a food pro­ces­sor and pulse for 30 sec­onds. Add half the oil and a ta­ble­spoon of wa­ter, then blitz again for a minute.

Warm the rest of the oil in a large wok or deep pan over a medium heat, and add the onion. Fry for five to seven min­utes, un­til it be­gins to soften, then add the curry paste, turmeric and curry pow­der, and con­tinue to cook for a fur­ther five min­utes or so, un­til the onions are soft.

Add the squash, stir to coat in the spices for a minute, then add the co­conut cream and palm sugar. Fill the co­conut tin with wa­ter about two-thirds full, and pour into the pan with a tea­spoon of salt. Bring to sim­mer­ing point and cook for five min­utes, then add the chicken.

Con­tinue to sim­mer gen­tly for 15 min­utes, un­til the chicken is just ten­der, then stir through the pak choi and cook for a few min­utes more, un­til the stalks are ten­der. Check the sea­son­ing and serve scat­tered with the peanuts and co­rian­der leaves, with a bowl of steamed rice on the side.

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