Northern Thai Curry with Chicken and Peanuts

3 large, dried red chile peppers 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder 1/2 teaspoon coriander seed 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
2 tablespoons peeled and chopped galangal
2 tablespoons thinly sliced lemon grass
1 teaspoon salt
shallot, chopped
cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons fermented shrimp paste
tablespoon peeled and chopped fresh turmeric root
tablespoons fish sauce 3 tablespoons palm sugar
2/3 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 cups water
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
(2 inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
tablespoons tamarind juice
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts

Place the chili peppers in a bowl; pour enough water over the chili peppers to cover. Allow the peppers to soak until softened, about 10 minutes; drain. Chop the peppers and set aside.

Grind the cumin, turmeric, coriander, and mace using a mortar and pestle into a fine powder. Add the galangal, lemon grass, salt, shallot, garlic, shrimp paste, fresh turmeric, and reconstituted chile peppers and grind into a paste. Stir the fish sauce and palm sugar into the paste. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add the chicken to the paste and toss to coat the chicken evenly; allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes, or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat; cook the chicken until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir the water, 1/2 cup peanuts, ginger, and tamarind juice into the chicken, bring to a simmer, and cook until thickened, 20 to 30 minutes. You can also cook this at a lower temperature for up to 2 hours. Garnish with 2 tablespoons peanuts to serve.

Rain Arora

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