Thai Orange Chicken Curry

This is quite simply stunning – definitely a TOP TEA. An amazing shade of orange to start with, but the sheer depth of flavour in this Thai curry is quite mind boggling. It takes you on a journey between hot and spicy, salty and tangy – leaving you not quite sure what’s going on in your mouth! It’s not a soupy curry, mid-way between a curry and a stir fry but what sauce there is goes a long way. It’s a very impressive dish with not too much in the way of complication. The recipe for the paste makes about 1/5 of what you’ll actually need – just freeze the rest and it’ll keep for months. It’s a delicious and spicy treat that I will be sure to make again and again.

INGREDIENTS:
*For the orange curry paste:

2 tablespoons fresh turmeric (chopped finely)
30g shallots (chopped)
5 cloves garlic (chopped)
30-40 small dried red chillies
2 teaspoons shrimp paste
1/2 teaspoon salt

orangecurrypaste

For the curry:
2 tablespoons peanut oil
3 cups mixed raw vegetables (you choose – cut into similar sized pieces)
600g chicken breast (cut into strips)
1-2 tablespoons orange curry paste* (2 will make it hot!)
125ml coconut milk
4 lime leaves
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 limes
1 tablespoon sugar

DIRECTIONS:

To make the paste:
Grind together the dried chillies in a spice grinder or pestle & mortar until you have a fine powder then combine this with all the other paste ingredients in a pestle & mortar and pound for 10-15 minutes until you have a smooth paste. The smoother the better. You can also do this in a food processor, pushing the paste down to make sure it’s all smooth.

To make the curry:
Heat the oil in a pan until just hot then tip in the chicken and lime leaves and stir fry for 1-2 minutes until the pan is nice and hot again. Tip in the vegetables and stir fry for 2-3 minutes until beginning to soften, stirring constantly. Add the curry paste and stir constantly for 1-2 minutes until aromatic. Pour in the coconut milk, 1 lime, halved and 60ml water and stir well. Cook on a low simmer for 1-2 minutes. The vegetables should be softer but still have some crunch. Add the fish sauce and sugar and simmer briefly. Remove from the heat and add the juice of the remaining lime just before serving. Check for seasoning and add more lime, sugar or fish sauce as you see fit.

SERVING:
Sprinkle over some toasted cashews or peanuts and fresh coriander and serve with jasmine rice or rice noodles.

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