Red Curry of Whole Baby Chicken & Minced Prawns with Sweet Basil & Asian Vegetables

TR_RED_CURRY_OF_BABY_CHICKEN_AND_MINCED_PRAWNS_WITH_SWEET_BASIL_AND_VEGETABLES_0637This one has been a strong favourite from customers since even the pop-up days of Farang, the whole roast chicken screams ‘roast dinner’, when marinated in a spicy red curry it screams even louder ‘Farang’. Sharing food and enjoying the experience ‘family style’ is how it’s done in Thailand and this dish is built to share so get stuck in. I’ve always used baby chicken in the restaurant to make this, which are perfect for sharing between two, however it works deliciously with larger chickens if you adjust the cooking times to suit. It’s a simple way to infuse the whole chicken with the flavours of the red curry. Serve this carved up in front of friends or family with bowls of rice and no one will be disappointed. Like in this recipe, you can cook the chicken straight away however for a fuller affect, leave the chicken marinating in red curry paste overnight before roasting.

Serves 2 / GF
1 baby chicken, roughly 250-300g
200g, red curry paste (for best results make it yourself, recipe in my book ‘Cook Thai’ 😉
1 tablespoon palm sugar
50g, prawns, shells, heads removed and de-veined, minced using a meat cleaver, keep the heads and prawns to one side
20g, baby corn, sliced into thin roll-cuts
20g, white daikon, peeled and sliced into thin roll-cuts and braised in water until (optional)
2, long red chillies, sliced into roll cuts
2, long green chillies, sliced into roll cuts
20g, green beans, topped and tailed, cut into 2cm long chunks
250ml, prawn stock, the recipe tells you how to make this
150ml, coconut oil, crack (vegetable oil can be used instead but is not as tasty)
200ml, coconut cream
2 tablespoons, wild ginger, krachai, peeled and thinly sliced (regular ginger will work too)
10g, Thai basil, picked
10g, coriander, washed and picked
2-3 tablespoons, fish sauce, to taste
1 teaspoon, sea salt

Firstly, get all the prawn heads that you collected and add them to 300ml of water. Bring this to the boil and then turn down to a simmer, make sure to skim the scum off the surface of the water, simmer for 20 minutes and then strain to produce a light prawn stock. Meanwhile heat the coconut oil in a wok, when bubbling, add the red curry paste and keep stirring and scraping regularly until paste begins to split like scrambled eggs. You will also notice that the smell of the ingredients changes from raw, to fragrant. I find as you cook out curry pastes you can smell each ingredient cooking at different times, I assume this is based on the water content of each vegetable, eventually the smell becomes one which is a clear sign that it is ready. At this point add the palm sugar and continue to scrape and cook for a further minute until the paste has darkened slightly, then add 2 tablespoons of fish sauce and allow to cook into the paste for one minute, don’t add too much as it is strong and you can always add, but never take away.

Now it’s time to let the curry out. Add 200ml of the prawn stock and 100ml of the coconut cream. Now remove half of this curry paste and allow to cool, once cool coat the chicken in the seasoned and cooked curry paste thoroughly, at this stage you can leave the chicken to marinate for a few hours, ideally overnight or you can cook straight away. Pre-heat an oven to 220 degrees centigrade and proceed to roast the chicken for 35-40 minutes until the skin is crisping and the curry paste marinade has become slightly charred and smells delicious. Check that the juices are running clear and that the chicken is hot throughout before removing from the oven. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

In the meantime, return to the rest of the cooked-out curry paste. Bring this back to a simmer and then add the daikon, green beans and baby corn. Stir to combine and then cover and bring to a simmer, cook out for around five minutes until all vegetables are cooked. At this point the curry would have thickened a little, so finish off the remaining prawn stock and coconut cream and add the minced prawns. Cook out for 3 minutes until all prawns are pink in colour and cooked throughout. Next add Thai basil, green and red chilli roll-cuts, fish sauce to taste and sliced krachai, then fold these ingredients in and serve immediately. The curry should be spicy, creamy, aromatic, sweet, fishy and salty all at the same time, adjust in the direction that suits you.

Serve the chicken whole with the prawn and vegetable curry over the top and if you like, a few sprigs of Thai basil on top for decoration, serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Cheers for reading,

Sebby Holmes Head Chef / Director, Award winning Thai Restaurant Farang London

Smoked Chicken, Wild Mushrooms, Sweet Basil, Coconut & Galangal Soup

Poached chicken, coconut & galingal soup (photo by Kaleem Hyder)

Photo from Farang by Kaleem Hyder

I have just spent the weekend in sunny Birmingham at the BBC Good Food Show cooking with the Thai Embassy on the Thai World Stage to help promote Thai produce and cuisine. I’ve never been to Birmingham before, although I have to say it felt like more like Kingston, Jamaica at 34 degrees- it’s been an absolute scorcher!

The show was a good crack actually, apart from it taking place at the NEC in Birmingham which has to be one of the most boring places on the planet- it reminded me of the film ‘The Truman Show’, where you feel you will walk through a door and hit a cardboard cut out of another door if you’re not careful. All the same the show was great and I’ve come back excited to get another recipe up on ‘Articuleat‘.

In this heat I wanted to cook something quick, effortless, light and tasty as fuck so I went for this soup. This soup can be made in many different variations, a few of which can be found in my book ‘Cook Thai‘ if you ever feel like giving them a go. It only takes a few bits and pieces and around 10-15 minutes to make and all of the ingredients can be found easily in most supermarkets these days. If you’re feeling really exotic throw in some king prawns to this soup too- awesome!

Ingredients Serves 2 / Vegetarian option

1 chicken breast, skin and fat removed, sliced into rough 2cm by 2cm pieces, directions for smoking in recipe  (do not use if vegetarian, ha)

1/4 butternut squash, roughly 50g, peeled and sliced into rough 2cm by 2 cm pieces (pumpkin can be used instead)

8 Thai Shallots, peeled and slightly bruised in a pestle

2 green birds eye chillies, bruised in a pestle

2 kaffir lime leaves, torn slightly

2 sticks lemongrass, chopped into 2 cm long pieces and bruised in a pestle

10g, galangal, peeled and chopped into 2 cm long pieces and bruised in a pestle

2 coriander roots, cleaned, washed and bruised in a pestle

½ teaspoon coarse sea salt

2-3 tablespoons fish sauce (soy sauce if vegetarian)

200ml chicken stock (vegetable stock if vegetarian)

300ml coconut cream

10g, Thai sweet basil (normal basil will do)

50g, assorted wild mushrooms (I use enoki, shittaki and emoji mushrooms)

1 lime, juiced

Method

Before I get started with the recipe I’ll delve a little into explaining how to smoke the chicken. In this recipe I cold smoke my chicken which can be done very easily when you’re at home. This means that I will be adding the smoke flavour from the wood to the meat, without cooking it. All you need is some smoking wood chips, a pan, a colander and some cling film. Place a small handful of wood chips into the pan and heat the pan up until the wood chips set alight within the pan. Once this happens put the flames out with a little water, this will cause the chips to smoke heavily. at this stage place the chicken in the colander and then put the colander upon the smoking pan, then quickly cling film the whole thing so it is air tight with no smoke leaving the cling film. This will leave the chicken inside a smoke vacuum, with minimal oxygen so the wood chips will not be hot but will smoke a lot. If this is left untouched for 20 minutes the smokey flavour would have penetrated the meat, the longer you leave it the smokier the flavour.

Firstly, in a small sauce pan bring a little water to the boil and then submerge the squash into it, then turn down to a simmer, continue to gently cook for around 3-4 minutes until soft but not quite cooked and then remove from the heat and put aside for a few minutes (at this stage you might as well leave it in the hot water as we are to use it straight away).

Next place the chicken stock, 100ml of the coconut cream, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, sea salt, galangal, coriander roots, birds eye chillies, lemongrass, lime leaves, butternut squash and Thai shallots and mushrooms into a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Once simmering add the chicken pieces and continue to cook gently for 4-5 minutes until all chicken is cooked and all vegetables have softened with flavours infused.

Finish by adding the rest of the coconut cream and the sweet basil and the dishing out into bowls. Lastly check the seasoning, it should be creamy, salty, a little spicy, aromatic with a fresh hint of lime at the end, adjust if needs be.

Thanks very much for stopping by at ‘Articuleat’ and I hope you have enjoyed your stay. I always look forward to your feedback so please don’t hesitate to get in touch for any reason whatsoever – I will reply as swiftly as possible.

 

See you next time,

Cheers,

Sebbyholmes