Thai Chicken Curry
You need shallots, lemongrass, galangal, ginger, cilantro, garlic and lime zest in addition to chilies and turmeric to make authentic Thai chicken curry. This is how we did it at a cooking class in Chiang Mai.
- 2 stalks lemongrass white portion only, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 shallots peeled and quartered
- 4 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 one-inch knob ginger thinly sliced
- 1 one-inch knob galangal thinly sliced
- 1 one-inch knob turmeric thinly sliced
- 4 stalks cilantro (reserved the top leaves for garnish)
- zest of one kaffir lime (see notes after the recipe)
- 2 bird's eye chilies stems discarded
To complete the dish
- lime slices
- cilantro leaves
- Using a mortar and pestle (or a mini food processor), grind all the ingredients for the curry paste.
- Heat the cooking oil in a thick-bottomed pan.
- Add the curry paste and saute (medium heat, of course), stirring often, until the solids start to separate from the oil.
- Pour in the coconut cream and heat until bubbly.
- Dump the chicken into the pan and stir to coat each piece with the curry sauce.
- Stir in the palm sugar, a tablespoon of fish sauce and the cinnamon stick.
- Mix the coconut milk with the chicken broth and pour into the pan.
- When the sauce boils, set the heat to low, cover the pan and cook the chicken in the sauce for 30 to 40 minutes with occasional stirring, depending on how large the chicken pieces are.
- Twice or thrice during cooking, taste the sauce and add more fish sauce, as needed.
- Serve your Thai chicken curry topped with cilantro leaves with lime slices or wedges on the side.
Kaffir lime was used in the Chiang Mai cooking school. We have a kaffir lime tree in our garden so we have a steady supple of kaffir limes. If unavailable, use regular limes. If the rest of herbs and spices are unavailable, I really suggest that you just get ready-to-use good quality Thai curry paste. You will get better flavors rather than cook the dish with incomplete ingredients. Coconut milk is naturally sweet. While seasoning Thai chicken curry with fish sauce balances that sweetness, squeezing lime juice over the chicken really makes the flavors of the dish pop.