Geng Bpaa Gai

Jungle curry of chicken with vegetables and peppercorns. A jungle curry is a country curry that is simple and robust in flavour and technique. Coconut cream is never used but either a green or a red curry paste can be its base. This version is perhaps the most common; however, there are many variations, using frog, game, freshwater fish and prawns as well as a myriad of vegetables reflecting the bounty of the local market. It can be served with pickled red shallots and dried fish or prawns.

Recipe courtesy of "Curry: Fragrant Dishes from India, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia" by David Thompson, copyright 2006. Used by permission of Dorling Kindersley Limited. All rights reserved.

Geng Bpaa Gai

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    7 oz (200 g) boneless chicken thigh or breast, skinned if preferred 10 dried red chillies, deseeded, soaked and chopped
    2 apple aubergines 3-4 dried small red chillies, soaked and chopped
    1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil A few bird's eye chillies (optional)
    2 1/2 tbsp fish sauce Good pinch of salt
    8-10 fl oz (250-300 ml) light chicken stock 2 tsp chopped galangal
    2 heaped tbsp picked pea aubergines 2 1/2 tbsp chopped lemongrass
    2 heaped tbsp snake beans cut into 3/4 in (2 cm) lengths 1 rounded tbsp chopped wild ginger
    3 baby corn, cut into small pieces 1 tsp chopped coriander root
    A little sliced boiled bamboo (optional) 1 tsp chopped kaffir lime zest
    3 stalks wild ginger, julienned 2 1/2 tbsp chopped red shallots
    1 long green chilli, thinly sliced at an angle 2 1/2 tbsp chopped garlic cloves
    2 kaffir lime leaves, torn 1 tsp Thai shrimp paste
    A Handful of holy basil leaves


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    • 1

      Slice the chicken into pieces about 3/4 in (2cm) long and 1/4 in (5mm) thick. Remove the stalks from the apple aubergines, then cut each one into sixths; keep in salted water to prevent discoloration.

    • 2

      Next make the curry paste. To make the garlic and chilli paste, grind all the ingredients with a mortar and pestle. Heat the oil in a wok or heavy saucepan and, when very hot, add the garlic and chilli paste. Fry over a high heat until golden and almost starting to burn. Quickly add 2 1/2 tbsp of the curry paste and continue to fry, stirring to prevent scorching, until explosively fragrant.

    • 3

      Season with the fish sauce, then add the stock and bring to the boil. Add the chicken and all the aubergines. Simmer for a minute or so or until cooked.

    • 4

      Add the remaining ingredients. Simmer for a few more moments. Check the seasoning, then serve.

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