1 x 1.5 kg/3 lb roasting chicken or chicken thigh cutlets
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1 slice galangal, fresh or in brine
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
5 candle nuts, pounded
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground fennel
4 tablespoons peanut oil
2 large onions, sliced finely
400 ml/14 fl oz can coconut milk
2 salam leaves or sprig of curry leaves
1 small stick cinnamon
2 stems lemon grass
juice of 1 lime
Cut chicken into joints and cut large joints in halves. Combine ginger, garlic, galangal, salt, pepper, nuts, coriander, cumin and fennel and pound to a paste. Rub over the chicken and leave at least 1 hour. Heat oil and fry sliced onion slowly until golden brown. Remove on a slotted spoon, letting oil drain back into the pan.
Fry the chicken pieces in the same oil until they change colour. Add 1 cup of the coconut milk mixed with 1 cup water. Drop in the daun salam or curry leaves, cinnamon stick and the lemon grass stalks, bruised and roughly tied in a knot for easy removal. Stir until it comes to a simmer, then cook uncovered until chicken is almost done, about 30 minutes. Add remaining coconut milk, undiluted, stirring well. Simmer for 10 minutes longer, uncovered. Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice. Taste and correct seasoning if necessary.
Remove lemon grass, cinnamon stick and daun salam or curry leaves. Serve with steamed rice.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)