Chicken Thai Jungle Curry
Gaeng pa or “Jungle curry” is one of my favourite curries of all time! I love my food fiercely spicy and jammed pack full of vegetables and a jungle curry is all of that in a bowl! Healthy, aromatic, and firey - this curry has all the flavours that are iconic to Thailand. Jungle curry is a water-based curry (so no coconut milk is needed here) so it makes for a light but very satisfying meal.
I was lucky enough to find some ‘on the stem’ green peppercorns in my local oriental store, which are my favourite to add in a jungle curry. These are peppercorns are in their fresh state before they get turned into either black or white pepper which we are more used to seeing. If you are searching for green peppercorns, they can be found either fresh ‘on the stem’ or in glass jars or tins in brine.
I do prefer to buy fresh on the stem as visually looks fantastic in a bowl! On the other hand, the advantage of purchasing jars or tins is that you stock up and use them at any time. The taste of the peppercorns in jungle curry is like an extra peppery punch, which I love! If you are new to cooking/eating peppercorns, I would recommend only 1 or 2 on a spoon at a time, because combined with the fiery jungle curry itself plus the extra pepper, it may be too much but you always build up a tolerance!
How to Make Chicken Thai Jungle Curry
Always start off by preparing your ingredients. The butternut squash should be peeled using a sharp knife and then cut into medium-sized cubes. The baby corn is to be cut in half lengthways and the green bean’s ends to be trimmed and cut into thirds. I’ve decided to cook with chicken thighs as the cut is closer to the bone and has a little bit more fat which will add more depth to the overall flavour. I roughly cut the chicken thighs into diagonal slices.
Now on to the cooking! Heat some oil in a wok or saucepan on medium/high heat and stir fry Thai Jungle curry paste for 2 minutes. Season the curry paste with fish sauce and palm sugar, blending well together to break the curry paste down before adding in the water. Mix well and bring to a boil and then add the chicken and simmer for 5 minutes before adding in the butternut squash and simmering for a further 2-3 minutes.
Next up is to add the remaining other vegetables, in our case, green beans, baby corn and green peppercorn. You can also add the fresh kaffir lime leaves too, do this by tearing the leaves up leaving the middle stem out. Bring the wok back up to a light boil and simmer until cooked, probably around 7 to 10 minutes. After some time, check that the chicken is cooked fully and the butternut squash is tender before serving up into bowls and enjoying with freshly steamed Thai Jasmine rice or noodles!
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