Adapted from the very popular Thai chicken and coconut cream soup (tom kha gai, gai dom kha or tom khaa kai), this dish is a stew rather than a soup. I was inspired to make it after I posted photos of our very bountiful lime tree and a niece, Ceia, commented on Facebook that the limes were “perfect for a Thai feast.” I’d have cooked a more authentic Thai dish but our lemongrass and mint plants have died and gone to herb heaven. Still, I had all the limes I could want, and the kaffir lime tree and holy basil had enough leaves to make a nice dish with.
Recipe: Lime and coconut chicken
- thighs, drumsticks and wings of a medium-sized chicken
- 2 tbsps. of lime juice
- 1 tbsp. of patis (fish sauce)
- 2 tbsps. of cooking oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- a knob of ginger, julienned
- 1 heaping tbsp. of tamarind paste
- a handful of holy basil leaves
- 2 to 3 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 c. of coconut milk (see guides here and here)
- sugar, to taste (optional)
- Rinse and pat the chicken pieces dry with a kitchen towel.
- Put the chicken in a bowl. Pour in the lime juice and patis. Mix well. For best results, cover the bowl and allow the chicken to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or deep frying pan. Saute the onion and ginger until lightly browned.
- Add the chicken (with the marinade) and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is no longer pink and the mixture is almost dry.
- Pour in the tamarind paste.
- Add the holy basil and kaffir lime leaves.
- Pour in the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook over very low heat for 40 to 45 minutes or until the chicken is done.
- Midway through the cooking, taste the broth. Fresh coconut milk is naturally sweet. If you’re using powdered or canned coconut milk, you won’t get that natural sweetness. To balance the flavors, you may need to sprinkle in a bit of sugar.
- Garnish the lime and coconut chicken with whole holy basil leaves before serving. Slices or wedges of lime in the bowl or on the side would be a good idea too.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 55 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 2 to 3