Friday, February 8, 2019

Burmese-Inspired Chicken Braised in Coconut Milk and Turmeric with Sweet Potato

This is one of the most delicious curry-type dishes that I have tasted in quite a while and I have eaten a lot of curry dishes. It is also the first Burmese-style dish that I have tried and, while I have never been to Burma,  the confluence of spices and ingredients seems to be a great reflection of Burma's geography and  history with its neighbors. Burma is neatly tucked in between India and Thailand so it is not surprising that  turmeric and coriander, two of the stars of Indian cuisine, and the Thai staples coconut milk and fish sauce are main ingredients in the fragrant marinade.  The ingredient list is extensive for sure but, step-wise, this is a pretty un-complicated dish to endeavor, and your effort and time would be well worth it. 

Burmese-Inspired Chicken Braised in Coconut Milk and Turmeric with Sweet Potato
(Adapted from Sara Jenkins)
Serves 4-5 

1 1/2 lbs organic, free range chicken legs 
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp turmeric powder 
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp vegetable oi
2 whole garlic cloves
1 one-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1 shallot, peeled
1 dried chili
1 bunch fresh cilantro 
1/4 cup coconut oil 
1 cup cubed sweet potato
3 cups chicken stock
1 up unsweetened coconut milk 
2 tbsp spoons fish sauce
1 lime, juiced 
salt to taste 

1. Marinate the chicken with the ground ginger, turmeric, coriander and vegetable oil. Ideally, marinate over night but, if pressed for time, half an hour in the refrigerator would do.
2. In a food processor, mince the garlic, fresh ginger, shallot, chili and cilantro.  
3. Add the coconut oil to a heavy-bottomed pan set over medium heat, then add the sweet potato cubes and fry until golden brown on at least two sides. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the chicken to the remaining oil in the pan and allow to brown. Season with a pinch of salt. Add the shallot-ginger-chili-cilantro mixture and cook for about two minutes until it starts to look a bit grainy. Do not burn. Add a couple tablespoons of the chicken stock and let reduce until the mixture is soft and cooked. Add the rest of the chicken stock and the reserved sweet potato and bring to a simmer. 
4. Simmer the soup for about half an hour until the chicken and sweet potatoes are cooked through. Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice and coconut milk and bring back to a simmer. Stir in a quarter cup of cilantro leaves and salt to taste before serving.