Eggs baked in tomatoes with crisp pancetta, basil and soldiers.
2 × 270 ml cans coconut cream
1/4 cup your favourite curry paste (I use Patak's
Tikka Masala paste)
1/4 cup (45 g) finely chopped ginger
inner hearts of 3 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped
1/3 cup (20 g) finely chopped coriander
8 chicken chops (partly boned leg and thigh portions) or skin-on chicken thighs
a few lacy coriander leaves, to garnish
steamed jasmine rice, to serve
Spicy cucumber ribbons
800 g Lebanese or other small cucumbers, washed and dried
2 tbsp light olive oil
2 tbsp very finely shredded ginger
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp rice (or white wine) vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
2 small red chillies, finely chopped
3 tsp sesame oil
up to 1 tablespoon lime juice
sea salt flakes, to taste
In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the coconut cream, curry paste, ginger, lemongrass and coriander.
Line a lidded container large enough to hold the chicken with a large, sturdy plastic bag. Sit the chicken pieces in the bag and scoop in the marinade. Tie a knot in the top of the bag, then squish it about in your hands so that the chicken is thoroughly coated in the marinade.
Put the bag back into the container and cover it tightly with a lid. Now just pop the lot into the fridge for at least 3–4 hours or, better still, overnight. If you remember, give the chicken pieces another squish from time to time.
When you are ready to cook the chicken, preheat your oven to 190°C. Line a shallow baking tray with baking paper and sit the chicken pieces on it, skin-side up. Squeeze any leftover marinade in the bag over the chicken. Slip the tray into the oven and cook the chicken for about 40 minutes, until it is deep golden brown on top.
While the chicken is cooking, make the cucumber ribbons. Run a vegetable peeler repeatedly down the length of a cucumber to form long narrow ribbons, stopping when you get to the seeds. Rotate the cucumber and do the same again. Repeat with the remaining cucumbers, then put the ribbons into a large bowl, cover them with plastic film and chill them.
When the chicken is nearly done, combine the olive oil, ginger, garlic, vinegar, caster sugar, chilli and sesame oil in a small saucepan. Sit the pan over medium heat and bring the mixture to the boil. As soon as it boils, remove it from the heat and stir in a little of the lime juice. Taste it and add salt and more lime juice, if necessary.
Pour this over the cucumber ribbons and thoroughly mix it in.
When the chicken is ready, sit one or two pieces on each plate and place a tangle of cucumber ribbons alongside.
Finish off with a sprinkling of coriander leaves and, if by any chance you have them, coriander flowers. This is delicious with a bowl of jasmine rice.