Fresh tumeric and kafir lime leaf is truly a beautiful combination. Like peaches and cream, the fat kid and cake, Winston Churchill and his cigar or Luke Skywalker and his sister.
I fell in love with the combination pretty quickly after taking up tenure as head chef at a Thai restaurant in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales. Fresh turmeric was new to me and soon it would stain many things in my kitchen and on my person. It was certainly not uncommon for me to go home with Jaundice-esque looking hands… I really can’t for the life of me remember why I didn’t think to get some gloves to solve that problem.
Anyway, I was in love with fresh turmeric and then when I discovered it would happily hang out with another good friend of mine – the kafir lime leaf – I was even happier still.
I am happy to offer a 100% money back guarantee if you try this recipe and are not completely satisfied.
GRILLED TUMERIC CHICKEN
(serves 4 or more if part of an Asian inspired feast)
4 chicken supreme (breast fillet with skin on and first wing bone attached)
1 onion, diced
8 cloves garlic, chopped
2 knobs turmeric, chopped
1 knob galangal or ginger, chopped
1 tablespoon dried shrimp
1 lemon grass stalk, white part only, chopped
10 kafir lime leaves
4 dried long red chilli, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes
2x 400 ml tins coconut cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
250 g snow peas, halved
Asian herbs, fried shallot and garlic, to serve
Steamed rice, to serve
To make your spice paste you will need to chuck the first 6 ingredients, 5 of the kafir lime leaves and ¼ cup vegetable oil into a food processer and blitz into a coarse puree.
Now we can marinate the chicken.
Make a couple of slices across the skin of the chicken breast to allow the marinade to penetrate a little more, to help it cook more evenly and for a little added sex appeal. Place the chicken into a large bowl and use 3 tablespoons of the spice paste to rub over the chicken.
Wrap and set aside in fridge for 2-3 hours.
While the chicken is marinating you can get started on the sauce.
Heat a splash of oil in a pan on the stove over medium heat.
Add remaining spice paste and cook out for a few minutes until it’s smelling good and aromatic – trust your nose for this one. Add the dried chillies and remaining kafir leaf and cook out for another minute or two.
Now add the coconut cream and simmer over low-medium heat for 15 minutes for the flavours to have that little party that we love them to have. (Heads up – now is probably a good time to make sure your grill is fired up and ready for your chicken.)
Add your sugar, fish sauce and lemon juice to season. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning to your preference accordingly – a little sugar if you want it sweeter, fish sauce for saltier and lemon juice for a little more sour.
Set sauce aside and get the chicken cooked.
Grill chicken over medium coals for 15-20 minutes, turning a couple of times, or until cooked (internal 165 F or 75 C). Set aside to rest while you finish the rest of the dish.
Bring the sauce up to a simmer and add snow peas and cherry tomatoes. Cook out for 3-4 minutes.
Slice chicken and arrange on plates, pour sauce and vegetables over, garnish with fresh herbs and crispy bits and serve with rice on the side.