This is my take of a chicken laksa – which apparently isn’t very authentic at all, but it is delicious nonetheless. The recipe is originally from Jamie Oliver’s superfood cookbook which I’m slowly working my way through. It is a real crowd pleaser and you can do most of the hard work ahead of time which is perfect when cooking for family and friends. This isn’t a spicy dish. Even my mum who hates anything spicy loved the aromatic flavours that came from the coriander, ginger and lemongrass.
The first time I made this I used a medium sized casserole dish but found that the bottom of the laksa was a bit soggy. The second time I made the dish I used a larger roasting tin instead which worked really well.
For the laksa paste (You only need half, you can freeze half for another time)
- 2 sticks of lemongrass
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 thumb sized pieces of ginger
- 1 fresh red chilli (seeds removed)
- 4 spring onions
- 1 big bunch of fresh coriander 60g
- 80ml coconut cream
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
For the bake
- 1.5 chicken stock cubes
- 200g mixed brown and wild or brown rice (I really like uncle bens wholegrain rice, you can use basmati rice, but it can go a bit soggy)
- 900 ml of water
- 1 butternut squash
- 4 free-range chicken thighs, (ideally bone in, skins removed)
- sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted peanuts
- 1 lime
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- To make the laska begin by getting the paste ingredients ready. Add the following to a food processor:
- Lemongrass (outer layers removed and chopped finely)
- Peeled garlic and ginger, chilli and spring onions, roughly chopped
- The coriander (including stalks)
- Coconut cream, vinegar and fish sauce
- This should form a nice thick paste. If it is too thick, add some water to thin it out. If it is too watery add some more coconut cream.
- Add one quarter of the marinade to the chicken and leave to marinate (this can also be done overnight) whilst you prep the squash
- Peel and cut the butternut squash into large chunks. Rub another quarter of the paste onto the squash.
- Next you need to find one or two large casserole dishes or baking trays (you want something with a large surface area) so the laksa doesn’t get too soggy.
- Mix the stock cubes with the boiling water and add this to the tray.
- Add the squash and chicken to the trays. Make sure you cover the chicken with some rice and stock so it doesn’t dry out.
- Drizzle each tray with sesame oil and bake for an hour and a half until golden.
- I find chopping nuts a bit tricky (more tend to end up on the floor) so I now place the nuts in a clean dish-cloth, fold the cloth over and then lightly use a rolling pin to ‘roll’ over the cloth and nuts, this crushes them without turning them into dust.
- Serve your laksa with peanuts, coriander and a slice of lime.