For the flavoring paste
3 thick stalks fresh lemongrass
3 shallots, coarsely chopped
3 gloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 piece fresh turmeric, 2 inches long, peeled and coarsely chopped - or 11/2 ground turmeric
1 piece galangal (optional)
2 to 10 small dried red chiles such as arbol
16 pieces chicken (breast, drumstick, tight)
3 tablespoon grapeseed oil
2 pieces cinnamon sticks
4 whole star anise
6 green cardamom pods, cracked open
2 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 piece asam gelugor (optional), but provides subtly sour note
1 teaspoon sugar
4 whole fresh kaffir lime leaves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1. cut off hard brown bottom and top of each lemongrass and discard tough outer layers. cut in 1/4" slice.
2. place lemongrass, shallots, garlic, turmeric, galangal and chiles in food processor. pulse until smooth paste (add 2 tablespoons water if grinding is difficult).
3. rinse chicken under cold water and pat it dry.
4. heat oil in skillet over medium low heat. add cinnamon, star anise and cardamon and saute stirring often, 2 minutes. add all the paste and saute, stirring to prevent scorching, until garlic no longre smell raw and paste begins to separate from oil, 5 to 7 minutes.
5. add the coconut milk, asam, sugar, lime leaves, and salt. stir well to combine and bring to gentle boil. reduce heat to medium-low and cook at a slow, steady bubble, uncovered and stirring every 5 mn until liquid has reduced by about one-fourth, about 20 mn. never allow the coconut milk to boil. adjust heat.
6. add the chicken to the milk and stir well. continue to simmer gently, uncovered and stirring to prevent chicken from sticking to bottom of the pan., until the liquid has reduced by about 95% and is the consistency of thick pea soup. this takes 1 to 11/2 hours. taste for salt. if excessive amount of oil at this point, remove it with large spoon until only 1/3 cup remains.
7. reduce heat to low (chicken and sauce are prone to scorching) and allow the chicken to brown slowly in the rendered fat. stir every 5 mn or so to prevent sticking. continue the sauteing the chicken until it is medium golden brown about 25 mn longer.
8. transfer chicken to serving dish and rest for 10mn. discard whole spices and leaves. dont serve too hot or too cold. room temperature is best for this flavor dish.
Lemongrass-scented Coconut Rice
2 cups jasmine rice
3 thick stalks fresh lemongrass, tied in a knot
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon salt
10 whole daun salam leaves (optional)
2 tablespoons crisp fried shallots
1.place rice in saucepan. fill pot halfway with cold water. swirl fingers through the rice until water becomes cloudy from surface, about 20 seconds. all rice to settle for few seconds, drain out water. repete 3 or 4 times. leave rinsed rice in pot.
2. add lemongrass, cooking water, coconut milk, salt and daun leaves to rinsed rice. stir well.
3. place pot over hight heat and bring to boil, stirring to prevent scorching. allow rice to boil for 15 seconds. reduce to lowest heat possible and cover for 15 mn.
4. fried the shallots.
5. remove pot form heat and allow rice to steam, covered for 10mn.
6. discard lemongrass and leaves. gently fold rice. top with fried shallots.
Chopped Vegetable Salad with Coconut and Lime Leaf dressing
For the dressing
5 whole fresh kaffir lime leaves
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 to 4 fresh red holland chile or fresh long red - fresno or cayenne, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 piece of turmeric or 1 teaspoon ground
1 piece ginger peeled and thinly sliced
4 tablespoons palm sugar
3 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 cup fresh coconut
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the salad
1 1/2 cups mung bean sprouts
20 green beans, stemmed and cut into 1/2"
1 1/2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
2 small kirby cucumbers, stemmed and thinly sliced
1 cup loosely packed fresh lemon basil, thai basil
1. remove thick center stem of kaffir lime and cut lengthwise into thin strips.
2. place lime leaves, garlice, chiles, turmeric, ginger, palm sugar and lime juice in small food processor. pulse until chunky-smooth paste. transfer to bowl. add coconut and salt. stir well to combine.
3. fill saucepan with water and bring to a boil. blanch bean sprouts 10 second. run them under cold water. set aside to dry.
4. add green to same boiling water and boil until crunchy tender, 1 1/2 mn. run cold water set aside to dry.
5. add cabbage to same water, 30 seconds. run cold water and dry. mix with other vegetables.
6. add cucumber and basil leaves and mix well, gently. add coconut dressing. taste for salt and sourness. add more lime juice if needed.