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Southern muslim chicken

September 20, 2009

Often referred to amongst my friends as 3-week chicken because I once threw a dinner party where I did one stage of this dish each Saturday for three weeks.

This (slightly modified) David Thompson recipe is hard work, I’m not going to lie to you, but it’s damn good. You can make a big batch of the curry paste and use it several times over if you want. It works on fish or chicken. If you want to do veggies, I’d stir fry it in a wok rather than put it in the oven.

You’ll need

  • 500g of chicken (thighs) or firm fish
  • 2 cups of coconut cream
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp of tamarind water


  • 7 long red chilies
  • 1 tbsp of chopped coriander stems
  • 5 tbsp chopped red shallots
  • 5 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 5 tbsp of chopped ginger
  • 5 tbsp grated coconut
  • large pinch of salt


  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp chopped shallot
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander root
  • pinch of ground white pepper
  • 4 tbsp coconut cream

To cook

For the marinade, pound the garlic, shallot, ginger, coriander, pepper into a paste and then add to the coconut cream. Marinate the chicken or fish overnight.

For the paste, try the chilli, coriander, shallot, garlic and ginger in the oven on a very low heat for about 45 mins. Once done, pound all the ingredients until they form a paste.

Heat up the 2 cups of coconut cream over a very low heat and stir until it begins to separate (this can take a while, you’ll begin to see the oil coming out of the coconut milk). Add the paste and fry on a low heat while stiring constantly. This can be a slow process, you’ll know you’ve got it right when it starts to get oily. The idea is that the oil comes out of the coconut cream and fries all the spices and ingredients. The longer you do it, the more oil you’ll get out and the more flavourful it gets. Once it’s quite a dark colour and has little pools of oil on it, add in the sugar, fish sauce and tamarind water and fry for a few more minutes.

Put it in a over-proof dish (I use the tagine without the lid) and mix it through the chicken or fish. Bake until it gets just a bit charred.

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