Poached chicken with lemongrass rice and nam jim
- April 2013
- Serves 4
- Takes 1 hour 10 minutes to make, 1 hour 25 minutes to cook
Debbie Major’s ginger-poached chicken with lemongrass-scented rice and nim jam recipe makes for a fresh-tasting Thai dish.
- 8.4g (1.7g saturated)
- 81.2g (10.2g sugars)
- 1.75kg free-range chicken
- 100g fresh ginger, sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, whole and unpeeled, lightly crushed with a rolling pin
- 1 large onion, cut into quarters
- Bunch of spring onions, trimmed and halved
- 1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp salt
For the spring herb salad
- 1 round lettuce, leaves separated
- Handful of fresh basil leaves (Thai basil if possible, available from Waitrose and Asian grocers)
- Small handful of young fresh mint leaves
- 15cm piece cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 spring onions, halved lengthways and finely shredded
For the lemongrass-scented rice
- 350g basmati rice
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 lemongrass stalks, lightly crushed with a rolling pin
- ½ tsp salt
For the nam jim
- 3 long red medium-hot chillies
- 30g light muscovado sugar (we like Billington’s)
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (about 1 large juicy lime)
- 2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 2 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp sea salt flakes
- 4 tbsp tamari or dark soy sauce
- 25g fresh ginger, very finely chopped
- Remove any giblets and string from the chicken. Put in a deep, snugly fitting pan and cover with cold water. Add the ginger, garlic, onion, spring onions, peppercorns and salt, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, then remove from the heat, cover and leave to stand for 1 hour.
- Prepare the spring herb salad by tossing all the ingredients in a bowl (you could keep a few spring onion shreds to garnish the rice). Cover and chill until needed.
- About 20 minutes before you want to eat, put the rice in a large sieve and run it under cold water, rubbing the grains with your fingers, until the water runs relatively clear. Drain. Gently warm the oil in a medium heavy-based pan. Add the crushed lemongrass stalks and the rice, then stir briefly. Add 600ml boiling water and the salt, bring to the boil, stir, cover and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, uncover, cover the pan with a folded clean tea towel and re-cover. Leave for 5 minutes, then fluff up with a fork (garnish with spring onion – see step 2 – if you like).
- While the rice is cooking, make the nam jim. Halve, deseed and finely chop the chillies, put them in a pestle with 1 tbsp of the sugar and grind into a coarse paste. Put the remaining sugar and 1 tbsp cold water in a small pan and warm until the sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil and boil for 1 minute until syrupy. Tip into a small bowl and leave to cool, then stir into the red chilli paste with the lime juice, fish sauce and chopped shallot.
- For the other accompaniments, toss the black peppercorns in a dry, hot pan for a few seconds until they start to smell aromatic. Tip into ?a clean pestle and mortar and coarsely crush, then stir in the sea salt flakes. Tip into a small dipping saucer or very small bowl. Mix the tamari or soy sauce and chopped ginger in another small bowl.
- Lift the chicken out of the poaching liquid on to a chopping board, then remove and discard the skin. (Keep the poaching liquid – see Debbie’s introduction). Cut off the legs and cut them in half at the joint. Cut the breasts away from the carcass in whole pieces and slice each one into 3 or 4.
- Arrange the herb salad around the edge of a large serving plate ?and arrange the warm chicken in the centre. Drizzle over some ?of the nam jim and serve with the remainder, along with the black pepper salt, ginger soy sauce and steamed rice.
Keep the leftover poaching liquid – it makes a wonderful stock for Asian-style noodle soups.
Nam jim, a tangy Thai dressing made of red chillies, sugar, lime juice and fish sauce. There are many versions, but it should taste equally hot, sweet, salty and sour.
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