I promised you some Malaysian food and here it is………Em Style!  Crispy, spicy chicken sitting on a bed of creamy, aromatic noodles infused with lime and topped with a fresh, crunchy garnish and smokey toasted coconut.  It may not be the most authentic Malay dish, a little ‘deconstructed’ I think is what you would call it and my inspiration did come from a recipe I saw in Mindfood magazine.  However as with every dish on this blog, I have tweaked and added to create an authentic Em’s Food for Friends recipe that I must say was ……….totally emmalicious!

* This recipe would be ideal for a dinner party with friends as everything can be prepared ahead of time and then reheated at the last minute.  You can even have your noodles partially cooked so that they only have to reheat in the sauce later on.  All garnishes can be prepped, coconut toasted and chicken marinated and fried off.

Prep time:   30 Minutes             Cooking time:   40 Minutes               $$  Low to Medium Budget

Serves 4

8 chicken thigh fillets, skinned and boned and any excess fat removed

2 tbs of peanut oil

1 long red chilli, sliced

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

2cm piece of ginger, grated

2cm piece of lemon grass finely chopped

3 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded

2 tsp of turmeric

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

1/2 tsp of ground ginger

2 star anise

Juice of 1 lime

For the Noodles:

200gm of pad thai style rice stick noodles

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

2cm piece of ginger, grated

3cm stalk of lemon grass, finely chopped

1 tsp of turmeric

1/2 tsp of ground cumin

1/2 tsp of ground coriander

1/2 tsp of garam masala

1 cup of chicken stock

400ml tin of coconut milk

Juice of 1 lime

2 tbs of fish sauce

1 tbs of grated palm sugar (brown sugar is fine too)

200gm of green beans, ends trimmed and halved diagonally

2 green onions, sliced into 5cm batons and then finely julienned

1 bunch of coriander leaves, roughly chopped

2 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded

1 red chilli, finely sliced (optional)

1/2 a cup of shredded coconut, lightly toasted in a dry pan

Lime wedges to serve

To marinate the chicken, place all the ingredients in a a large bowl and mix with a metal spoon to combine (a wooden spoon or spatula will stain).  Place the chicken in the bowl and mix really well to coat the chicken all over in the marinade.  Cover with cling wrap and marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Pre heat the oven to 180°C.  Heat a large heavy based frypan to nice and hot and cook the chicken on both sides for approximately 4 minutes or until you have a nice caramelised crust.  You will probably need to do this in batches as you don’t want to overcrowd the pan.  Remove the chicken from the pan and place it on a lined baking tray.  When it is all done, place the tray in the preheated oven and allow the chicken to cook for another 20-25 minutes or until cooked all the way through.

Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water.  Soak for approximately 15 minutes or until just tender.  drain and run under cold water to prevent sticking.

Meanwhile, using the same pan, add a little more oil if needed and lightly fry the garlic, ginger, lemongrass and chilli for approximately 30 seconds and then add the spices.  Fry for a further 30 seconds until aromatic and then add the chicken stock and coconut milk.  Stir well to combine and bring to the boil.  Season with the fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar, stir until the sugar has dissolved and have a taste.  Adjust any seasoning if necessary… should have the perfect balance of salty, sweet and sour.  return to the boil and allow the sauce to reduce on a low simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened.

In a small bowl combine the green onion, half the coriander and shredded lime leaves.  Toss well with your fingers to combine.

Add the beans and the rest of the coriander to the sauce and cook for approximately 4 minutes and then tip the noodles in.  Toss gently with a couple of forks so that the noodles are coated in the thick sauce.

Divide the noodles between four serving plates or shallow bowls in a nice neat pile in the centre.  Top each with two chicken thigh fillets and then place a nice pile of the crunchy garnish on top.  Scatter over  the toasted coconut and chilli slices and serve with lime wedges.  make sure to clean the plates up before serving as the turmeric sauce makes a nice mess!