Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thai-Style Litchi chicken

Well it's been a while since my last post, but sometimes life just seems to take a detour and you just have to go with the flow.  Last year was definitely full of detours for our family, nothing serious, but very time consuming.  I am not going to bore you with the details, but lets just say I even learned how to build a house out of timber during the process.

My parent moved in with us for a few months last year as well.  It was a wonderful experience, albeit challenging at times.  And the biggest challenge was to adapt our respective eating habits to suit the other party.  Strange don't you think, that I lived with them for such a big part of my life and did so much cooking while I was growing up, and yet our eating habits have drifted worlds apart since?
I am a very curious cook, always looking for new recipes, new styles of food to cook.  I enjoy nothing more than challenging myself with a complicated dish that I have never tried.  My favourites dishes sometimes evolve from opening the fridge and just cooking what is in there, trying something I have never done, mixing different flavours.  And that is how this family staple happened too.  

It is such a simple dish to put together and you don't need fresh litchis at all.  In fact, it is much better with the canned version.  The herbs are refreshing, without being overbearing.  And this dish was a hit with my parents too.

Thai-Style Litchi Chicken (serves 4)
Cook's note:  We like chilli in small quantities, feel free to add more, should you want yours hotter.  However, the heat will overpower the delicate sweetness of the Litchis.

8 portions of chicken (drum sticks or thighs with bone and skin)
1 small onion, finely diced
small bunch of coriander
small bunch of basil
lemon grass, thumb size
fresh ginger, thumb size, peeled and sliced
2 cloves of garlic
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons of coriander seeds
4 cloves

1 can litchis
1/2 can coconut milk

In a large skillet or pot, heat some oil and fry the chicken until brown.  Remove the chicken and then fry the onions, stirring often to prevent them from burning.  Add the coriander seeds and cloves and the chicken to the pan.

While the chicken is frying, put all the other ingredients, except coconut milk in a food processor and process until pesto-like.  Be sure to add some of the litchi juice to make it easier to process.  Add the pesto to the browned chicken pieces and fry for a minute before adding the rest of the liquid from the can and about half a can of water.  Cook for around 30 minutes, remove the chicken and reduce the sauce slightly.  Process with a hand-held blender and add the coconut milk, reheat and serve with some cooked rice.

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