I always like to turn a negative into a positive, so when my son slashed his knee to bits on an oyster covered jetty while kneeboarding and I had to sit in a Doctor’s surgery waiting for hours on end, I was rather pleased to find this fragrant and delicious chicken recipe in a decade old magazine.  I then spent the next 40 minutes salivating just thinking about the sensational marriage of these classic Vietnamese flavours on a plate at my table.  With a little tweaking on my part the result was amazing…….thanks Jake!

Prep time:    20 Minutes                    Cooking time:   1  Hour                 $  Low Budget

Serves 4

4 chicken maryland pieces, cut on the joint (Breast or thigh would be equally good)

8 Kaffir lime leaves, roughly chopped

2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 thai chillies, roughly chopped (seeds removed if you don’t like it too spicy)

2 lemon grass stalks, white part only, roughly chopped

5cm piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

1 small red onion, diced

1/2 tsp of chinese five spice powder

1/2 tsp of ground black pepper

1 tbs of brown sugar

1/12 tbs of fish sauce

Juice of 1/2 a lime

1 tbs of peanut oil

2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup of light coconut cream

2 green shallots, white ends removed and finely sliced for garnish

For the rice:

2 cups of jasmine rice

2 cups of water

1 cup of light coconut cream

2 white ends of the green shallot you reserved for garnish

2 x 1/2cm pieces of ginger

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and bruised

1/2 cup of coriander leaves

200gm of snow peas, topped and cut in half diagonally

sea salt and pepper

Lime wedges to serve

To prepare the chicken place the lime leaves, garlic, chillies, lemon grass, ginger and onion into a food processor. Pulse a couple of times to get going and then process until you have a paste with the consistency of pesto.  Add the five-spice powder, pepper, peanut oil, brown sugar, lime juice and fish sauce and blitz again until combined.  Place the chicken in an oven proof dish in a single layer and rub the paste into the chicken with your hands, making sure you have it all covered.  Drizzle over the olive oil,  cover with cling wrap and marinate in the fridge for at least four hours.

Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees.  Bake the chicken for approximately 1 hour or until golden and cooked through, turning occasionally.  At about the 45 minute mark, drizzle over the coconut cream.

To prepare the rice, place the rice, water, coconut cream, ginger, garlic and spring onion in a large saucepan and stir well to combine.  Pop it on the stove and bring to the boil and cover with a tight fitting lid.  Reduce the heat to low and allow the rice to absorb the liquid for approximately 12-14 minutes.  Turn off and allow to rest for about 8 minutes.

Blanche the snow peas in boiling water for about 1 minute, drain and run under cold water so they retain their nice bright green colour.  Remove the lid of the rice and fluff it up with a fork.  Discard the ginger, garlic and spring onion and stir through the snow peas and coriander.

To plate the dish, divide the rice among four plates and top with a leg and thigh chicken piece.  Give the pan juices a good stir and spoon over each plate.  Top with spring onions and serve with lime wedges……..