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

Smokey, Spiced Red Curry Sausage, Lime Leaf & Wild Ginger with Gola Curry Dip

photograph taken by Zeren Wilson @bittenandwritten

photograph taken by Zeren Wilson @bittenandwritten

Did you know that every time a human being is born onto this planet, statistically three sausages are made! Scientists have coined it the ‘three baby sausage ratio’. Now that, is in absolutely no way true (well, I don’t think it is?), but at least I’ve caught your attention now.

This is an absolute banger of a dish, smokey, salty, spicy, sweet and sour, everything a person with a taste for Thai would expect in a meal. Now it’s a pretty lengthy dish to create given that two curry pastes need to be made in order to make the red curry for the sausage and the gola curry for a dip. However I have three reasons that may persuade you to go through the efforts to complete the whole recipe. Firstly, it tastes bloody great, secondly both the red and the gola paste can be kept in the fridge for use in an endless array of other delicious recipes, and lastly if you really can’t be arsed to cook the whole thing but Zeren’s lovely picture is making you want to eat it, just make the sausage and serve with some sweet chilli sauce and herbs, I guarantee you’ll still love it.

There are a couple more optional extras in this dish which you can avoid if you’d like to, as there are simple short cuts (although as you know if you read my blog, I always urge you to try the long way at least once, you can taste the difference). Firstly, I made my own coconut cream to use within the gola curry whilst cooking it out. This obviously takes a little longer than opening a tin, however the difference in taste is phenomenal, if you’ve never tried fresh coconut cream before, think about the difference in taste between a fresh pint of milk and those little sachets you get free in hotel rooms – you get the idea. Now don’t get me wrong, we don’t all have the time to make our own coconut cream all the time, but it’s definitely worth having a mess around with.

Just bare in mind that in order to complete this recipe with success its important for you to purchase a heavy, granite pestle and mortar. When making any curry paste, the objective is to combine flavours with brute force. Therefore a heavy weighted pestle and mortar is the fastest way to victory. Trust me, I first brought a wooden one for use at home and I spent entire evenings bashing coriander root until my hands hurt and I swear it just got bigger. Right then lets get started.

Ingredients

(serves around 3/4 people, makes 12-15 sausages)

When weighing ingredients for these curry pastes I use a small cup (this holds roughly 300ml’s of liquid), this makes more than enough paste for this recipe, however its worth making a little more if you’re going to put in the effort to make it properly.

(for the red curry paste)

-5 cups, large dried red chillies, soaked in warm water to soften, drained, de-seeded

-6 cups, peeled garlic cloves

-6 cups, peeled banana shallots

-5 cups lemongrass, outer sheath’s remove, topped and tailed

-3 cups, peeled galangal

-2 cups, coriander root, cleaned

-1 cup, roasted gapi paste (fermented shrimp)

-45g, white pepper, toasted and spice ground to powder

-45g, coriander seeds, toasted and spice ground to powder

-45g, cumin seeds, toasted and spice ground to powder

-large pinch of coarse salt

(for the gola paste)

-1.5 cups,  large dried red chillies, soaked in warm water to soften, drained, de-seeded

-1/2 cup, cleaned coriander roots

-2.5 cups, peeled banana shallots

-2.5 cups, peeled garlic

-2.5 cups, peeled ginger

-2.5 cups, desiccated coconut

-1 cups, roasted peanuts

-large pinch of coarse salt

(for everything else)

-1kg, smoked pork belly mince, ask a butcher to make it roughly 20% fat, to 80% meat. If you cant get hold of smoked pork belly then just cold smoke it yourself in a closed barbecue. I will make sure to pu up a post explaining a few simple ways to do this over the next few weeks)

-Kaffir lime leaf, jullienned, finely chopped

-200ml, coconut cream

-50ml, vegetable stock

-150g, palm sugar (soft brown sugar will do)

-200ml, fish sauce

-100g, kra chi, wild ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

-a little cooking oil

-a few thai shallots, peeled and thinly sliced for garnish

-a few picked and washed coriander leaves for garnish

-a few semi chopped nuts for garnish

Method

  1. Firstly let’s make the coconut cream. Start by cracking the coconuts with a hammer and remove and discard the outer shell. This leaves you with the inner flesh of the coconut which has an inedible skin attached to it. Using a peeler remove this skin to leave you with only the fresh, white coconut flesh. Next put this flesh through a mincer, or grate it and add to the boiling water, combine thoroughly using a stick blender for around 5 minutes. Once combined filter the liquid from the flesh by ringing it out in some muslin, or a cloth. Once separated place the liquid in the fridge and leave to cool. As it cools the cream will separate from the water, the white cream on the top is what you want. Keep the coconut water as it can be used to let out curries and soups. Any leftover coconut cream can be boiled down until it splits (cracks); this can then be used as coconut oil (coconut crack) which we will talk about another time. Once finished take some of the grated coconut left behind and toast on a medium heat in the oven, until golden brown and crunchy.
  2. Secondly, lets get those curry pastes made. As i say the important thing is to have a heavy pestle and mortar. When making a curry paste, begin by pounding each ingredient individually, starting from the toughest, then remove from the pestle to clear way for the next ingredient. After they have all been individually pounded, add them all back into the pestle and pound until it resembles one paste, you may have to do this in a couple of batches so it fits easily into the pestle. pound in the order of dried chilli, lemongrass, galangal, ginger, shallot, garlic, coriander root, peanuts, coconut, gapi paste, using the salt as an abrasive throughout. This list includes ingredients from both pastes, but do remember to first complete the red paste, then put aside. Then complete the gola paste separately as they are two separate pastes.
  3. right so now we have our cream and pastes, the hard bit is complete, lets make the sausages. In a pan, gently melt 150ml of the fish sauce with 150g of the palm sugar, then put aside to cool. Next In a mixing bowl add the pork mince, fish sauce and palm sugar mix, 400g red curry paste, all the sliced wild ginger (kra chi) and mix well. Once mixed roll into sausage shapes using cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to set shape (these can be as thin or fat as you like, its your dinner). once set in shape, poach the sausages in simmering water to a core temperature of around 64 degrees (medium rare), if you don’t like pink pork take it as far as you like, depends how much you trust the quality of the meat. Once these are poached either put them straight on a barbecue or grill and cook the outside until the whole sausage has gone a lovely golden brown colour with some char, or place them in an ice bath to cool quickly, then leave in the fridge for cooking at a later date (they also freeze well).
  4. In the meantime, cook out the gola dipping sauce. This curry is best cooked slow, over around 45 minutes, this way you can add depth and richness to the curry. To begin, pour roughly around 100ml cooking oil into a pan and heat to a medium/high temperature. Once hot add 300g of the gola paste to this oil, this should make a sizzling sounds as it touches the pan as we want to fry the paste. Keep the paste moving with a metal kitchen spoon, being sure to scrape anything that sticks to the bottom off quickly before it goes black. It is correct for this paste to stick a little more that usual as its packed full of peanuts and they are a bit of a bastard to fry. However, if you keep a watchful eye, and regular movement, you will be fine. After around 20 minutes the paste will begin to go a little darker, this is a sign that its ready to add palm sugar. Add the sugar and turn down the heat, keep stirring for around 5 minutes until the sugar is melted and beginning to caramalise, which will make the paste a little darker. Once melted add the remaining fish sauce to the, followed by all the coconut cream and stock, keep the paste simmering on a medium heat for another ten minutes and re-season if you feel it necessary, the gola should taste sweet, salty and mildly hot.
  5. To serve, place the gola in a bowl and top with semi chopped/pounded peanuts, sliced Thai shallots and coriander leaves. Pile sausages up next to sauce (with wooded skewers in if you want to make it finger food) and then eat.

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