Thai Chicken Curry

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I love East Asian curries, especially Thai curries which are more fragrant than their Indian counterparts. Don’t think that they don’t have the same spice as Indian currues though. This gorgeous Thai curry is spicy and tangy all in one. It’s not difficult to see why the flavours are so intense when you see just how much goes into this curry. Don’t let it put you off though it’s pretty simple when you get down to it.

RECIPE:

INGREDIENTS:

1kg chicken thighs (cut into chunks)
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
3 tablespoons peanut oil
6 kaffir lime leaves (or zest of 1/2 lime)
5 small red chillies (seeded & halved)
5 small green chillies (seeded & halved)
salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce

For the marinade:
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt

For the curry paste:
1 heaped teaspoon crushed fresh galangal (or fresh ginger)
115g spring onions
2 cloves garlic
5 kaffir lime leaves (or zest of 1/2 lime)
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
30g fresh coriander (roots & stalks only (keep the leaves separate))
30g lemon grass (chopped)
60g red chillies
30g green chillies

For the spice mix:
1 1/4 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons chilli powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric

DIRECTIONS:
Mix the marinade ingredients together and combine with the chicken. Leave to marinade for at least 1/2 hour covered.
Mix together the spice mix ingredients and set aside.
In a food processor or with a hand blender or in a large pestle & mortar, mash the curry paste ingredients into a fine paste and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or wok over a moderate heat. Add the lime leaves, if using, and fry for 10 seconds.
Add the paste and fry for 2 minutes. Pour in 1/2 the coconut milk (add the lime zest if you’re not using leaves), stir for 30 seconds, then reduce the heat. The oil will begin to separate. Now add the spice mix together with some salt, the sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, the remaining coconut milk and the reserved coriander leaves. Bring this to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer gently for 1 minute. Add the chicken and the chillies and let it simmer gently for 40 minutes until the chicken is tender. Fish out the chillies if you like before serving.

SERVING:
Sprinkle with more fresh coriander and serve with plenty of plain boiled rice.

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