Lemongrass Chicken Curry

When I am tired of working on my writing at home, I often go to Barnes and Noble for a change of scene. After working a while and having my coffee at the cafe there, I reward my efforts by taking a long stroll through the books. I seldom buy books. I usually go to the library or I love paperbackswap.com, both of which are virtually free. However, a few weeks ago I was checking out the reduced price books and one caught my eye. It's called New Curries by Pamela Clark, and it shows recipes from India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. I love Indian and Thai curries, but I haven't tried a lot of the curries in this book.

The first curry I decided to prepare was adapted from her lemongrass chicken curry. I wanted to reduce the fat and calories from the original recipe. Changes I made include using less oil and the cut of meat. Originally, the recipe calls for chicken drumettes, which have a lot of fat in their skin. I used skinless chicken legs not only to reduce the fat but also because I thought they would make a better dinner portion because they're meatier. It was kind of a feat to remove the skin on the chicken. I found using chicken shears I could cut down the skin, then I covered my hands with a paper towel and used it to grip the skin as I pulled it off from the end of the bone. If you use kitchen shears, be careful not to cut the tendons of the chicken leg because they hold the meat to the bone; the meat will splay as it is braised in the sauce and not look as attractive in the end result. These methods cut the calorie count almost in half and reduce the fat by 30 grams!

For curry paste, I used Thai Kitchen red curry, which from previous usage I determined to be rather mild. Red curry paste is usually medium in heat, so when you choose a paste you just have to use your best judgement and choose one that you like. Panang curry is my utmost favorite Thai curry, so I would like to try this recipe with that paste. I couldn't find it in the store, unfortunately. I also think it's really important to thoroughly brown the chicken. It's an opportunity to add another layer of flavor so you don't miss the fat in this recipe.

Lemongrass Chicken Curry
Printable Recipe

2 tsp canola oil
2 1/2 lbs chicken legs (about 8 legs), skin removed
1 medium onion sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 4-inch stalk lemongrass, minced
1 green chili, such as jalapeno, minced (or to taste)
1/4 cup mild curry paste (ie: korma, tikka, panang, or yellow or your favorite mild paste)
1 1/2 tbsp turbinado or grated palm sugar
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 medium red bell pepper, sliced
2 carrots, julienned
4 green onions, thinly sliced on the bias
salt and pepper

1. Heat half of oil in the large saucepan or medium Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown the chicken on all sides. Remove the chicken to the side.
2. Add the remaining oil. Saute the onion, garlic, lemongrass, and jalapeno until translucent and fragrant. Lower the heat to medium immediately after adding the ingredients to keep them from burning. Add curry paste and stir it into the vegetables.
3. Add the sugar and broth; bring to boil and return chicken to the pan. Partially cover and cook 20 minutes.
4. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and add the peppers and carrots. Cook for 5 more minutes. Garnish with the green onions.

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