Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 50 mins
Ingredients needed to make Phanaeng Kai:
For the spice blend:
- 1 tsp shrimp paste
- ½ tbsp kaffir lime rind
- 1o garlic cloves, peeled
- 5 shallots
- 5 small dried chillies
- 1 tsp lemongrass
- 5 peppercorns
- 1 tsp coriander root
- 1 tsp galangal
- 1 tsp salt
For the curry:
- 300 gms chicken, boneless
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 kaffir lime leaves
- 250 gms grated coconut
- 2 stems sweet basil
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
Cooking instructions for Phanaeng Kai:
- Dump all the ingredients for the spice blend into a mortar and bash them hard with the pestle until they ground into a smooth paste.
- Place the grated coconut in a bowl and pour in ½ cup water.
- Squeeze the coconut to extract as much coconut milk as possible and pass it through a fine mesh sieve to strain into a bowl; measure 1 cup of it and set aside until necessary.
- Slice the chicken into long strips and toss them into a hot skillet, greased earlier with a lashing of oil.
- Stir fry them until they are cooked through and brown evenly.
- Transfer them into a bowl and set aside.
- Pour rest of the oil and scrape out the spice mixture into it.
- Fry it for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly, until it gives out a zesty aroma and beat in the coconut milk before the fried spice blend tends to dry out.
- Cook the mixture over slow flame for 8-10 minutes or until the oil separates from the curry and accumulates around the sides of the pan.
- Return the cooked chicken back into the pan, followed by the kaffir lime leaves and sprinkle the sugar into it.
- Pour in a splash of fish sauce and stir them all together to mix well.
- Pour in more coconut milk to thin it out and bring it to a simmer.
- Continue to simmer over slow flame for next 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the curry reduces considerably to appear thicker.
- Stir in the basil leaves ad turn off the heat.
- Tip the chicken curry into a large serving bowl and sprinkle more sweet basil on top to garnish.
- Serve hot alongside steamed white rice.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons