Dear chicken thighs,
Just dropping you a note to let you know that you are wonderful. I’m eternally grateful for your flexibility, tremendous value and overwhelming tastiness in a range of my favourite recipes.
You know I hate to choose favourites when jointing as I think all bits have their place, but I think you know that you’re special.
NONYA CHICKEN CURRY (Serves 6)
This is the best chicken curry in the world. Not even exaggerating.
3 tbs coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp of shrimp paste
15 dried chillies, seeds removed, soaked in hot water
8 eschallots, peeled and halved
3 plump garlic cloves, peeled
½ thumb size of fresh turmeric, peeled
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 star anise
2 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
150ml coconut cream
5 stems of curry leaves
1½ kg chicken thigh fillets (approx. 8)
3 potatoes, peeled and quartered
400ml coconut milk
1 tsp sugar
1 fresh red chilli, optional
1. Wrap the shrimp paste in some aluminium foil and flatten into an envelope. Drop in pan with coriander, cumin and fennel seeds and toast until spices are smoking.
2. Tip the spices into a mortar and pestle leaving the al foil a little longer. Grind the spices into a powder.
3. Drop the soaked chillies (not the liquid), eschallots, garlic, turmeric and grinded spices into the bowl of a small food processor. Remove the shrimp paste from the heat and drop into the chilli mix.
Blend until smoothly combined. Stand in awe of the stunning paste that you have just made.
4. Heat vegetable oil in large pot adding star anise, cloves and cinnamon stick. Toast briefly (about a minute) before adding spice paste to the pot.
5. Cook the mixture down for around 10 minutes on a medium heat until the spice mix starts to darken. Add the coconut cream and curry leaves to the pot and cook for a further 5 minutes until well combined and fragrant.
6. Add chicken to the pot and combine with spice paste.
7. Add the potato, coconut milk and sugar. Season generously with salt then put a lid on and cook for 20 minutes.
7. When the chicken and potatoes are cooked, add optional red chilli (kept whole, but split) and the remaining coconut cream.
8. Serve with steamed rice.
WATCH OUTS: The first time I made this curry it was crazy hot – I forgot to deseed the chillies. It was still edible, but quite the dining challenge. Experiment with heat and number of chillies depending on your preference. This curry transforms in the most incredible way. Starting quite mellow and then deepening into a stunning deep, rich coloured stew.