© Constantine William Spyrou
All my life, I've been exposed to a lot of cultures and food. The diversity of options in the Bay Area as well as here in Davis for food has made that possible. Picking favorite cuisines out of the ones I've tried is not an easy task, because a lot of them have amazing "signature" dishes that I associate with each cuisine as their best. For the Chinese, it has to be MaPo Tofu. For Indian cuisine, I love Rogan Josh (a spicy but hearty lamb curry stew). Pasta Bolognese from Italy, Leg of Lamb from Greece, Paella from Spain.... there's a ton to pick from. The particular dish I'm going to focus on today is a signature dish from Thailand: Green Coconut Curry Chicken.
While I have done a quick recipe of this dish in the past, I'm going to be transforming that dish today by utilizing a roasted whole chicken as the vessel for the curry flavors and the classic roast chicken an interesting blend of flavors. I'll be brining the chicken in some familiar ingredients such as coconut milk, palm sugar, kaffir lime, soy sauce, etc. Then, I'll be making a curry paste from scratch and rubbing it into the chicken, similar to filling a turkey with a roasting butter. This will help keep the chicken moist while providing the intense aromatic flavors of the curry paste. Once those aromas fill your home or apartment, you won't be able to wait to start digging in to this masterpiece!
Recipe will serve up to 15 people.
For the Brine:
1 6-8 pound roasting chicken
4 cups coconut milk
1/2 gallon water
1 pound of ice
1/2 cup crushed white peppercorns
2 tablespoons palm sugar
4 kaffir lime leaves
2 crushed spring onion stalks
1 bunch of cilantro stems (save the leaves to garnish if you wish)
6 smashed cloves of garlic
1/2 cup roughly chopped ginger
1/4 cup roughly chopped galangal
2 shallots, roughly sliced
For the Curry Paste:
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup minced ginger
1/4 cup minced galangal
2 cloves minced garlic
2 green Thai chilies, sliced thinly
1/4 cup Thai basil, finely chopped
1/4 cup lemongrass, finely chopped
1 tablespoon toasted cumin seeds
1 tablespoon toasted coriander seeds
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to season
1. Add all of your brine ingredients together and mix well in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then rapidly shut off and add the ice to cool off the brine. Add in your chicken, and place the pot covered in the fridge for about 24 hours.
2. Bring the chicken out of the fridge and leave out to come to room temperature. While the chicken is out, make your curry paste by combining all of your ingredients in a mortar. Use a pestle to grind them and mix them together. Add in the peanut/vegetable oil and soy sauce afterward to thin out, then season to taste.
3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. As the oven preheats, rub the skin and inside of the skin (you can separate up near the top of the breast of the chicken) with your curry paste. Make sure to get every part of the chicken. Also be sure to season the cavity, or inside part of the chicken, and rub it with the curry paste as well.
4. Truss the chicken with some butcher's twine. This works by tucking the wings underneath the breast and then using the twice to tie the legs underneath the bird.
5. Place the chicken in your roasting tray, and roast for 1 1/2 hours. Then, turn the temperature up to 450 degrees for another 15-20 minutes to crisp up the skin.
6. Take the chicken out, and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before carving and serving. This chicken goes really well with steamed jasmine rice.
This chicken spends a lot of time taking in the flavors of the Thai curry, so it has a lot of aroma and flavor as a result. The curry paste flavors the chicken and helps keep the skin from burning (thanks to the oil in the curry paste). Additionally, the chicken will stay more moist as a result of having the paste help protect it from the heat.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know what you think and what you would change. If you make it at home, let me know how it turns out! Enjoy! =)