Spiced curry of guinea fowl with chilli

Spiced curry of guinea fowl with chilli

New Thai Food
Jeremy Simons

Guinea fowl is underutilised, especially when you realise that its flavour is so good. Duck makes a great replacement, and even spatchcock or chicken will work well, too.


Quantity Ingredient
1 x 1.2kg guinea fowl, rinsed and dried
60ml coconut oil or canola oil
60g palm sugar, shaved
60ml fish sauce
2 red banana chillies, roasted, peeled and seeded
50g crushed roasted peanuts
1/2 mandarin, juiced
fried peanuts, to garnish
1 bunch coriander, leaves picked, to garnish
1 tablespoon coconut cream, to garnish

Poaching liquid

Quantity Ingredient
1.5 litres coconut milk
1 lemongrass stem, bruised along its length
6 coriander roots, scraped and cleaned
100ml fish sauce
100g palm sugar, shaved

Curry paste

Quantity Ingredient
10 red asian shallots, sliced
2 garlic bulbs, cloves separated and peeled
2 lemongrass stems, finely sliced, white part only
6 coriander roots, scraped and cleaned
4 cm piece fresh galangal, peeled and finely sliced
12 dried long red chillies, seeded, soaked in warm water 10 minutes, drained
2 teaspoons shrimp paste, roasted
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon blade mace
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 cardamom pods
3 cloves
1 teaspoon white peppercorns


  1. To make the poaching liquid, bring the coconut milk to the boil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the lemongrass, coriander roots, fish sauce and palm sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Add the guinea fowl. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and leave to steep for 40 minutes. Transfer the fowl to a plate and allow to cool. Reserve 300 ml of the poaching liquid.
  3. Meanwhile, make the curry paste. Heat a wok over a medium heat and dry-roast the shallots and garlic for 5–10 minutes, stirring continuously, until slightly coloured – add a little water if necessary to prevent burning. Stir in the lemongrass, coriander roots and galangal. Cover the wok to help the cooking process and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic has softened and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Add the chillies, shrimp paste and salt and stir well to combine. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.
  4. Meanwhile, in another wok or small frying pan, moisten the coriander seeds, mace, cumin, cardamom and cloves with cold water, then drain immediately. (This helps to cook all the spices evenly all the way through without the outside burning.) Dry-roast in a small heavy-based saucepan or wok over a medium heat for 10 minutes. Combine with the peppercorns in a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.
  5. Transfer the cooled mixture to a food processor and blend to a fine paste. Add the ground spices and blend to combine. Set aside.
  6. When the fowl is cool, cut in half down the backbone and remove the central bones. Divide the fowl into breast and leg pieces, leaving the bones in. You should have 8 pieces.
  7. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Fry the curry paste for 10–12 minutes, stirring continuously, until the paste is fragrant and smells cooked. Add the palm sugar and fish sauce and cook, stirring continuously, until the sugar is dissolved, for about 2 minutes. Add the reserved poaching liquid and bring to the boil.
  8. Add the guinea fowl and banana chillies and simmer for 5–10 minutes. Stir in the peanuts and mandarin juice.
  9. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with the peanuts, coriander leaves and coconut cream.
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