Vietnamese Chicken & Coconut Curry

When it comes to curry in South East Asia, Thailand and Malaysia generally steal all the thunder. But that’s not an indication of some of the delicious stews and curries available in the rest of the region. Vietnam have many such dishes – one being this splendid chicken curry. Unlike its fiery counterparts of Thailand, this curry favours fragrance over heat with a mild but incredibly flavoursome sauce. I’ve made this dish without chillies before and must conclude, that it didn’t suffer in the slightest. So, if you’re not into heat spice, but want to try something different then this may be the curry for you.

INGREDIENTS:
1 kg chicken thigh fillets (cut into bitesize pieces)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Curry Paste ingredients:
2 lemon grass stalks (white parts only, sliced)
1 small onion (chopped)
5 garlic cloves (chopped)
3″ piece ginger (chopped)
2 Thai chillies (seeded and chopped)

2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 teaspoons palm sugar
250ml coconut milk
3 tablespoons fish sauce
Fresh coriander (for garnish)

DIRECTIONS:
In a large bowl, sprinkle the chicken pieces with the turmeric and white pepper. Stir well to cover everything then set aside.

In a food processor or with a hand blender, blend together until smooth the lemon grass, onion, garlic, ginger and chillies. Set aside.

In a wok or large saucepan, heat the oil until hot. Add the curry paste and stir well. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Add 1/4 cup water once or twice during cooking to avoid sticking.

Add the chicken and stir. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly to avoid sticking. Pour in the coconut milk, sugar, fish sauce and 250ml water and stir well. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer gently for 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

SERVING:
Sprinkle over the coriander and serve alongside jasmine rice to soak up all the delicious sauce.

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