Banana trunk and chicken curry

Banana trunk and chicken curry

By
From
Luke Nguyen's Greater Mekong
Serves
4
Photographer
Stuart Scott

The versatile banana tree is grown in all tropical regions in Asia. This herbaceous plant gives us the fruit of course, but we can also use the blossoms in salads, and the beautiful long leaves to wrap around foods for steaming or chargrilling. In northern Thailand, the locals also cook the actual banana trunk in curries. The trunk itself doesn't have much flavour, but it acts as a sponge, absorbing other flavours and adding great texture to the dish. If you can’t get any, use lotus stems instead.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
200g banana trunk heart, tinned lotus stems, or whole bamboo shoots in brine
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1kg whole chicken, chopped into bite-sized pieces through the bone
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 tablespoon “fish sauce
40-50g bundle of dried glass noodles, soaked in water for 30 minutes, then drained
2 spring onions, sliced
4 sprigs coriander, sliced

Thai chilli paste

Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons lemongrass, fi“nely chopped, white part only
3 tablespoons fresh galangal, “finely chopped
4 kaffir lime leaves, “finely sliced
4 tablespoons garlic, fi“nely chopped
4 tablespoons red asian shallots, fi“nely chopped
13 dried chillies, “finely chopped
1 tablespoon shrimp paste
2 tablespoons mam ruoc

Method

  1. To make the Thai chilli paste, add each ingredient, one at a time, to a large mortar or food processor. Pound with a pestle or process each ingredient well before adding the next one; keep pounding until a smooth paste forms and all the ingredients are well incorporated. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the chilli paste to a bowl; seal the rest in a clean screw-top jar and refrigerate for use in other Thai recipes.
  2. Add a few tablespoons of water to the mortar, cleaning both the mortar and pestle with the water. Pour the water out and reserve it for the curry.
  3. If using the banana trunk hearts, slice them into 5 cm lengths, then cut into quarters. Place them in a water bath with the lime juice to stop them discolouring. Set aside. If using lotus stems or bamboo shoots, cut them into 4 cm lengths and set aside.
  4. Add the vegetable oil to a hot wok. Add the reserved 2 tablespoons of chilli paste and sauté over medium–high heat for 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the chicken and stir-fry for a further 3 minutes.
  5. Now add the reserved chilli paste water from the mortar, plus enough extra water to just cover the chicken. Bring to the boil, skimming offŽ any impurities that rise to the surface. Add the banana trunk, lotus stems or bamboo shoots and cook for 6–8minutes, or until the chicken is cooked and the banana trunk becomes soft.
  6. Now add the kaffir lime leaves, “fish sauce and noodles and cook for a further minute.
  7. Garnish with the spring onion and coriander and serve.
Tags:
Greater
Mekong
Luke
Nguyen
Red
Lantern
Vietnam
Vietnamese
Asian
Asia
South
East
Southeast
South-east
SBS
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