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Chicken In Spiced Coconut Milk

2 tablespoons of oil

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1 cup spice paste, recipe below

1 stalk lemon grass, bruised

1 salam leaf (optional)

2 lbs. chicken, cut in 8 pieces

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed

4 cups coconut milk

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fried shallots to garnish

Heat vegetable oil in heavy saucepan. Add spice paste and saute for two minutes over low heat. Add lemon grass, salam leaf, and chicken pieces, and continue to saute for two minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour in coconut milk, bring to boil, then simmer until chicken is cooked and sauce thickens. (If sauce is too thick, add a little chicken stock.) Garnish with shallots. Serve with steamed Basmati or jasmine rice. serves 6 to 8.


Note: Wear gloves when slicing the chilies.

14 shallots, peeled

26 cloves garlic, peeled

1-inch kencur root, peeled and chopped (optional)

1 1/2-inch galangal root, peeled and chopped

10 candlenuts (substitute raw cashews)

5-inch piece fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped

4 tablespoons chopped palm sugar (substitute brown sugar)

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 stalks lemon grass, bruised

2 salam leaves

10 green chilies, finely sliced

Put shallots, garlic, kencur, galangal, candlenuts, turmeric, and palm sugar into a food processor and grind coarsely. Heat oil in a wok until very hot. add ingredients; stirring frequently, until the marinade changes to a golden color. (Leftover paste may be refrigerated.)


* salam leaf: a subtly flavored leaf of the cassia family. This leaf is not similar to the bay leaf, which is sometimes suggested as a substitute, and should be omitted if unobtainable.

* kencur root: a ginger-like root that has a unique pungent flavor and should be used sparingly. dried, sliced kencur or kencur powder can be used.

* galangal root: a member of the ginger family that is sometimes called laos and should be peeled before use. Dried or powdered laos can be substituted.

* candlenut: a round, cream-colored nut with an oily consistency. macadamia nuts or raw cashews can be substituted.

* palm sugar: a sugar with a faint caramel taste made from juice extracted from the coconut flower or aren palm. soft brown sugar can be substituted.

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