Fragrant Chicken Curry with Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime Leaves

, from Issue #78. May, 2018
Photography by Manja Wachsmuth.
Fragrant Chicken Curry with Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime Leaves

Bursting with aromatic lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, the chicken gets cooked until falling off the bone and is then finished with extra fresh herbs and chilli.

Serves: 4–6


6 chicken drumsticks
4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on (I used Bostock Chicken)
vegetable oil
red chilli and coriander, to serve
6 macadamia nuts
1 long fresh red chilli, halved and seeded
1 small red onion
3cm-piece fresh ginger, peeled
3 cloves garlic
1 stalk lemongrass, finely grated on a microplane grater
1 teaspoon each ground turmeric, paprika, coriander and cumin
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons coconut cream, plus extra to serve (optional)
To cook
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup coconut cream
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 double kaffir lime leaves
1 stalk lemongrass, lightly bruised with a rolling pin
Fragrant Basmati Rice (GF)
good knob butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1½ cups basmati rice, rinsed then soaked in cold water for 30 minutes
3 cups water
1 teaspoon sea salt


Paste: Roughly chop all the ingredients and place in a food processor along with the spices and coconut cream. Blend to a smooth paste.

To cook: Heat the oil in a large sauté pan and add the spice paste and cinnamon sticks. Cook gently for 5 minutes until lightly golden, stirring frequently and adding a splash of water if needed.

Add the coconut cream, water and salt, then the kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass. Nestle in the chicken, turning to coat in the sauce, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes or until the chicken is very tender and fully cooked, stirring occasionally.

To serve: Drizzle over extra coconut cream, if desired, sliced red chilli and coriander. Serves 4–6.

Cook’s note: 
We topped the curry with fresh shiso leaves which can be found at Asian food stores and markets.

Fragrant Basmati Rice: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and cook the onion, cinnamon and bay leaves for 5 minutes until softened. Stir in the drained rice, then add the water and salt.

Bring to the boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 12 minutes, then turn off the heat. Don’t lift the lid. Leave the rice for 10 minutes then fluff up with a fork to serve. Makes about 3 cups.