Thai Creamed Coconut Chicken

The very good news about this brilliant recipe for busy people is that it's made with ready-cooked chicken. You can, of course, cook the chicken yourself, but either way, it's a quick but excellent supper party dish for four people, and extra special served with Thai Green Rice.

Serves 4

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book One and The Delia Collection: Chicken. It has also appeared in Sainsbury's Magazine (Guide to Poultry and Game Cookery)

Thai Creamed Coconut Chicken
 1 cooked chicken weighing about 2 lb 4 oz (1 kg), stripped, or 5 cooked chicken breasts
 14 fl oz (400 ml) tinned coconut milk
 1 level teaspoon coriander seeds
 ½ level teaspoon cumin seeds
 2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
 2 tablespoons groundnut or other flavourless oil
 2 medium onions, peeled and finely sliced
 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
 ½ oz (10 g) fresh coriander
 1 level teaspoon turmeric
 4 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
 1 level dessertspoon finely chopped fresh lemon grass
 2 tablespoons lime juice
 salt and freshly milled black pepper


To prepare the chicken, remove the skin and cut the flesh into strips about 2½ inches (6 cm) long.

Next, the spices will need roasting, so heat a large frying pan or wok – without any fat in it – and, when it's really hot, add the coriander, cumin and cardamom pods.

Allow the spices to roast briefly – about 45 seconds – shaking the pan from time to time, then tip them into a mortar, removing the seeds from the cardamom pods and discarding the husks, and crush them all fairly finely. Now add the oil to the frying pan or wok.

When it's really hot, fry the onions and garlic over a medium heat for 8-9 minutes, until they're nicely softened. Meanwhile, strip the leaves from the coriander stalks, reserve these, then chop the stalks finely.

When the onions are ready, add the turmeric, chilli, crushed spices and coriander stalks, along with the lemon grass, to the pan. Stir these thoroughly together, then pour in the coconut milk and lime juice.

Add some seasoning, then simmer everything gently for about 10 minutes, uncovered, by which time the sauce should have reduced and thickened.

Now add the chicken to the sauce and simmer gently for 10 minutes or so to heat it through completely.

Serve the chicken on a bed of Thai Green Rice, garnished with the coriander leaves.

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