I’m loving exploring simplicity at the moment. I find it so inspiring when you try a dish that is absolutely packed with flavour and is exciting to eat, but really simple to make. There’s a time and a place for huge recipes, tons of ingredients and lots of steps…usually the weekend, music playing and wine in hand, then I’m more than happy to get stuck in! But as a relatively new dad, more often than not time and energy are at a premium, so dishes need to be packed full of flavour as quickly and easily as possible. On the blog, I’m exploring how few ingredients can I get away with using, whilst still creating delicious recipes worth cooking. Every ingredient needs to be working hard.
This is a beautiful recipe, inspired by one of Nigel Slater’s in his excellent book ‘Eat’. I’ve adapted and simplified it, but I think it works really well. The main event is a wonderfully fragrant coconut broth that’s packed with flavour and heat. Not too hot, but just what you need on these cooler autumn evenings. It’s got all the usual Thai flavours, lemongrass, bird’s eye chillis, garlic, basil and coriander, but a lovely hum of turmeric too. It’s a healthy, low-carb dish and with a little grilled chicken, substantial enough for dinner, but of course you could add some jasmine rice or noodles if you prefer. To give it an extra health boost, I packed it full of cavolo nero from our allotment…possible my all-time favourite greens!
If you fancy giving this a veggie or vegan twist, simply swap out the chicken for some roasted squash or try a little tofu instead. The omission of fish sauce (whilst sacrilege in authentic Thai cooking) was intentional, as my wife is veggie and I really wanted her to be able to enjoy the broth too. To make things even easier, whizz up the paste at the weekend and store in the freezer, then cook for an extra minute or two before following the recipe as normal. By doing this, you can easily whip up this recipe after work when you need dinner on the table ASAP!
Ingredients Paste ingredients 6 coriander stalks 2 tsp turmeric 2 garlic cloves 2 lemongrass stalks (1) 2 bird’s eye chillis 2 kaffir lime leaves 2 tbsps groundnut/vegetable oil Other ingredients 400ml can of coconut milk Soy sauce, to taste 1 lime 200g chopped kale/cavolo nero 2 organic chicken thighs, grilled then sliced. Coriander & thai basil to garnish
In a processor, blitz together all paste ingredients. Add a splash of water to loosen if necessary.
Sweat paste for a couple of minutes, then slowly stir in coconut milk and bring to simmer. Add a splash of soy sauce and squeeze of lime, taste and add more if needed. Add the cavolo nero and simmer until tender.
Ladle into warm bowls, top with grilled chicken and herbs.
(1) Peel the tough outer layers, then (starting at the thicker ‘root’ end) finely slice, discarding the more woody end. The processor might get it fairly fine, but I think it’s worth giving the machine a helping hand so you don’t end up with fibrous bits in the curry.