Perhaps it’s the unseasonably warm and sunny weather we’ve been enjoying of late, or maybe it’s got something to do with my having done two whole weeks of full-time work [I know, poor me!], but I’m yearning to get on a plane and head for distant shores. And with my own planned odyssey to explore the food of Indochina currently on indefinite hold it doesn’t help that you can’t turn on the TV at the moment without seeing a certain bum-chinned, potty-mouthed chef trampling all over South East Asia and its peoples and cuisines. Ah well, if departure lounges must remain a distant dream for now there’s nothing to stop me rustling up a mini-break from the comfort of my own kitchen.
Last July I wrote about the versatility of a simple chicken pot roast and this is yet another variation on the theme, though this time conceived with thoughts of a cold Tiger beer on a Thai beach at the forefront of my mind.
Follow the same basic method as before [you can substitute water for the wine if you think it feels more ‘authentic’, but I didn’t] but this time add the following:
- A couple of bruised lemon grass stalks and the stems of a handful of basil [reserve the leaves for later] these to be inserted into the cavity, the rest strewn about the chicken in the liquor…
- Two small shallots, finely chopped
- A thumb of ginger, peeled and grated
- Two or three red chillies, chopped
- Strips of the peel of half a lime
- Three or four crushed cloves of garlic
- Half a teaspoon of ground turmeric
Season well and cook as before. Once the chicken is done allow it to rest and strain the juices into another pan. Reduce by a third. Add a tin of coconut milk, simmer for a few minutes more, and check the seasoning. Add some previously steamed and refreshed green veg to the sauce and warm through. I used new season asparagus and some pak choi, but green beans, peas, spinach, pea aubergines, etc. would all be fine.
Finish the sauce with a squeeze of lime, a splash of fish sauce, the reserved basil leaves, and a few further strips of freshly sliced chilli if you fancy. Serve chunks of the chicken in bowls on a bed of warm noodles and with plenty of the sauce.
Now then, where did I put my postcards…?