This scrumptious chicken dish is perfect for times when we’ve been out and about for most of the day and the thought of cooking something from scratch is less than inspiring. The marinade only takes a few minutes to make and, basically, you just pop the chicken into it the night before you need it, make sure it’s well coated (and covered, or everything in your fridge will smell rather exotic!) then leave it until you’re ready to cook.
I nearly always serve this with jasmine rice. The cucumber ribbons look really pretty and I love to make them when time is on my side. When it isn’t, I’m just as likely to seed and slice the cucumbers then mix them with a little plain yoghurt, fresh mint and salt, and serve this instead.
- 2 x 270 ml cans coconut cream
- 75 g (¼ cup) curry paste (I use Patak’s Tikka Masala paste)
- 45 g (¼ cup) finely chopped ginger
- inner hearts of 3 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped
- 20 g (⅓ cup) finely chopped coriander
- 8 chicken chops (partly boned leg and thigh portions) or skin-on chicken thighs
- coriander leaves, to garnish
- steamed jasmine rice, to serve
Spicy cucumber ribbons
- 800 g Lebanese cucumber, washed and dried
- 2 tbsp light olive oil
- 2 tbsp very finely shredded ginger
- 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 2 small red chillies, finely chopped
- 3 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- sea salt flakes, to taste
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: 3 hours
In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the coconut cream, curry paste, ginger, lemongrass and coriander.
Line a lidded container large enough to hold the chicken with a large, sturdy plastic bag. Sit the chicken pieces in the bag and scoop in the marinade. Tie a knot in the top of the bag, then squish it about in your hands so that the chicken is thoroughly coated in the marinade. (Make sure you use a good strong bag for this or, as I’ve found to my cost, the bag could tear as you squish the chicken, making rather a horrible mess!) Put the bag back into the container and cover it tightly with a lid. Place into the fridge for 3-4 hours or, better still, overnight.
When you are ready to cook the chicken, preheat your oven to 190°C.
Line a shallow baking tray with baking paper and sit the chicken pieces on it, skin-side up. Squeeze any leftover marinade in the bag over the chicken. Slip the tray into the oven and cook the chicken for about 40 minutes, until it is deep golden brown on top.
While the chicken is cooking, make the cucumber ribbons. To do this, run a vegetable peeler repeatedly down the length of a cucumber to form long narrow
ribbons, stopping when you get to the seeds. Rotate the cucumber and do the same again. Repeat with the remaining cucumbers, then put the ribbons into a large bowl, cover them with plastic film and chill them. (I discard the seedy cores and the first ribbons on each side as they are all skin and a bit chewy.)
When the chicken is nearly done, combine the olive oil, ginger, garlic, vinegar, caster sugar, chilli and sesame oil in a small saucepan. Sit the pan over medium heat and bring the mixture to the boil. As soon as it boils, remove it from the heat and stir in a little of the lime juice. Taste and add salt and more lime juice, if necessary. Pour this over the cucumber ribbons and thoroughly mix it in.
When the chicken is ready, sit one or two pieces on each plate and place a tangle of cucumber ribbons alongside. Finish off with a sprinkling of coriander leaves and, if by any chance you have them, coriander flowers. This is delicious with a bowl of jasmine rice.
This recipe is an extract from Sunday Life food editor Karen Martini's cookbook, Feasting.