This is one of the classic dishes in the Muslim repertoire. Originally from India, it probably came up through southern Thailand and reached Bangkok in the 19th century where it’s still alive and well. It’s vital that you use a wide heavy-based saucepan to make this dish or the rice will catch and burn instead of cooking to a lovely golden.
- 1 tbsp washed and coarsely chopped coriander roots
- 2 tbsp coarsely chopped ginger
- 1 tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
- 1 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh turmeric
- pinch salt (1 g)
- 3 tbsp (heaped) curry powder
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 6 chicken marylands, cut into 3-4 pieces each (ask your butcher to do this)
- 60 ml (¼ cup) fish sauce, plus extra, for seasoning
- large pinch sugar (2 g)
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) yoghurt or soured milk
- 80-100 ml ghee
- 1 cup thinly sliced red Asian shallots
- pinch salt (1g)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 pieces cassia bark, lightly toasted
- 4-6 cardamom pods, lightly toasted
- 250 g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup chopped mint leaves
- 1 cup chopped coriander leaves
- 2 tsp curry powder, or to taste
- 800 g (4 cups) aged jasmine rice, rinsed (see Note)
- 1.25 litres (5 cups) hot chicken stock
- 1 pandanus leaf, knotted
- Deep-fried shallots, chopped coriander leaves, Lebanese cucumber batons and sweet chilli sauce
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time 20 minutes
To make the marinated chicken, place the coriander roots, ginger, garlic, fresh turmeric and salt in a mortar and pestle and pound until a coarse paste forms. Add the curry powder and ground turmeric and combine well.
Place the chicken in a bowl, add half the marinade paste, the fish sauce and half the yoghurt. Combine well, then stand for at least 20 minutes or refrigerate for up to 2 hours. Reserve the remaining paste.
To make the base, heat the ghee in a wide, heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Add the shallots and salt and cook for 2-3 minutes or until they begin to colour. Add the reserved marinade paste, bay leaves, dried spices, tomatoes and herbs, and stir for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant and dry. Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes, turning occasionally until lightly browned all over.
Add the curry powder, then add the rice and a dash of extra fish sauce and stir until well combined. Don’t worry if the rice catches at this stage as it will add extra flavor. Add enough stock to just cover the rice, then bring to the boil. Add the remaining yoghurt and the pandanus leaf and stir to combine well. Reduce the heat to as low as possible, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 20 minutes or until the chicken and rice are cooked and the stock has been absorbed. Serve sprinkled with deep-fried shallots and coriander leaves, with cucumber batons and sweet chilli sauce on the side.
• Aged rice is simply rice that has been stored for up to one year. This not only intensifies the flavor of the rice, it also means the rice absorbs more liquid during cooking whilst remaining firm and separate. Available from Asian or Indian grocers.