Sunday, March 18, 2012

Crispy Chicken with Green Curry Sauce

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Something you should know about me is that I have an unhealthy obsession with cookbooks.  I love them.  I want more of them.  I need them.  I'm a cookbook hoarder.

Ask The Hubby, there probably isn't any night of the week that while we are sitting watching TV I am not flipping through the tattered, stained pages of any given cookbook.  If you and I are talking on the phone, and I end the sentence with the word potato instead of whatever you were expecting, you know what I was really doing while we were chatting.  I usually even have a cookbook on the passenger seat of my car so that I can sneak a peek at a red light on my long drive home from work.  And what makes it worse is the suffocating feeling that even if I cooked one new thing every day for the rest of my life, I would never ever be able to make all of the recipes that are out there in all of the cookbooks!  It's bad.  I'm an addict.

So, imagine how excited I was on Christmas Eve when I got to open my stocking from my mother-in-law (yes, I am 30 years old and still get a stocking from both my mom and my mom-in-law, and I LOVE it!), and inside was a brand new copy of Jamie Oliver's Meals in Minutes!  So many new recipes and pretty pictures and yummy things!!!  Pure bliss!

So, I decided to finally put the Meals In Minutes concept to a test this past Friday.  A whole delicious meal in just a few minutes?!  Um, yes please.  With my new cookbook on the car seat beside me, I decided during my commute home from work that Crispy Chicken with Green Curry Sauce was going to be the object of my affection that day.

Off to the grocery store I went.  The recipe called for some ingredients that I have never cooked with before, namely lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.  The lemongrass part wasn't hard to find, but after going to two grocery stores and having a few awkward conversations with the 17-year old produce department employees about what I was trying to buy ("Lime leaves?"), I opted out of the optional lime leaves.

Then I had a stroke of genius!  Since it was only 6pm on a Friday night, and since this meal was literally only going to take me a few minutes to construct, maybe The Hubby and I should invite some friends over for dinner and cards!  The Hubby's brother and his fiance were totally in.  Sweet...last minute dinner plans!

I got home and got cracking on making dinner, which started with the first and most important step of The Hubby and I having a drink first.  Then after that followed Step 2, which is of course to get the food processor out and viciously slice yourself with the razor sharp blade attachment.  Step 3:  Get the ingredients out and put them on the counter, kind of hiding the cilantro behind some of the other ingredients.  Step 4: Convince The Hubby that the cilantro sitting on the counter is going to be fiiiine, and he will barely be able to taste it in the curry (Note to all you cilantro-haters: it's actually true...the sauce tastes like green curry in the end and not like cilantro!).  Step 5:  Make curry sauce...the food processor became my bitch after mutilating me!  HAHA!  Step 6:  Answer doorbell, pour glasses of wine, drink wine, and chit chat.  Step 7:  Drink more wine, and chit chat.  Step 8:  Right, I'm making a dinner here...better get back to it!  Step 9:  Hilarity ensues.

I'm not sure why this happened, but the dinner took many many many minutes to make, instead of just 30.  My future sister-in-law was right beside me at the helm, and the two of us could not get this thing moving!  It started with the cooking of the chicken, and ended with the smoke detector going off and me wearing gardening gloves to protect myself against the bombs of super-hot olive oil that were shooting out of the pan and all over my entire kitchen.

But, it tasted darn good, especially the chicken!!  I also could not believe how easy it is to make home-made green curry.  I think the key to this being a meal that you could make in minutes is to not have any fun distractions in your house while you are doing so (wine, The Hubby, and my brother- and sister-in-law are the culprits here in particular).

So, I will leave you with this amazing recipe, and one question:  What is your favourite 'throw-it-together-in-under-30-minutes' meal?

Crispy Chicken
8 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin on
2 tbsp. sesame seeds
2 tbsp. honey
Olive oil
Parchment paper

Green Curry Sauce
1-inch piece of fresh ginger
2 fresh red chilies
a few fresh kaffir lime leaves (optional)
1 bunch fresh cilantro
4 cloves garlic
1 lemongrass stalk
1 small bunch green onions
Asian sesame oil
Olive oil
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
7 oz. (200 g) fine fresh green beans, trimmed
15 oz. (400 mL) can coconut milk
lime juice
soy sauce

Put one large frying pan and one small frying pan onto high heat.  Peel the ginger and put it into the food processor with the chilies (stalks removed), lime leaves (optional), most of the cilantro, and the unpeeled cloves of garlic.  Halve the lemongrass, discard the outer leaves, and add to the food processor.  Trim the green onions, and add them to the food processor.  Blitz to a paste, adding a good drizzle of sesame oil and a few good lugs of olive oil as required.

Place the chicken thighs in the largest frying pan, skin side down.  Drizzle with olive oil, add a pinch of salt and pepper, and leave to cook, turning every minute or so, for 18 - 20 minutes, or until cooked through.

Put some parchment paper on top of the chicken, then put the smaller frying pan on top of that, with something heavy on top to weigh it down.  The heat from the smaller frying pan will get the chicken cooking on both sides at the same time, and will make it nice and crispy.

Move the top pan to medium heat, and discard of the parchment paper.  Carefully drain away the fat and turn the chicken pieces skin side up.  Add the sesame seeds to the empty frying pan and leave to toast until golden, tossing occasionally, then put into a small bowl and take the pan off of the heat.

Carefully drain the fat again, then wipe the pan with paper towels and reduce the heat.  Add two tbsp. of the curry paste from the food processor, and toss to coat and glaze the chicken, then turn the chicken over and keep cooking until sticky and delicious.
Put the rest of the curry paste into a hot saucepan and stir in the chicken broth.  Trim the green beans, and add.  Turn the heat up to medium high.  Shake the can of coconut milk, and stir into the pot.  Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer.
Check that the chicken is cooked through, then pour the honey over the chicken and toss, finishing with the chicken skin side down again.

Taste and correct the curry sauce, and if needed add lime juice and/or soy sauce.  Cook for slightly longer if you want a thicker sauce.

Plate the curry sauce over top of rice or rice noodles, and serve with the chicken.  Enjoy!
Serves:  4

The Hubby's Review:  Really really good!
The Hubby's Brother's Fiance's Review:  I really liked the dish!  Flavours were awesome!

Adapted From: Jamie Oliver's Meals in Minutes


  1. Kaffir Lime Leaves are easily available here:

    Definitely somewhere to check out for hard-to-find ingredients.

    Also, to expand your cookbook collection, check this place out:

  2. Excellent...I will write that store name down for future reference! Thanks for the tip. I wonder what kind of flavour the kaffir leaf adds to the it just a lime taste?

    I'll also check out that online cookbook store...thanks!

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