Sunday, 22 July 2012

Recipe: Roast Chicken, Thai Style

As regular readers of the Blog may have noticed, I'm taking advantage of having the kitchen to myself for a few days and cooking many of the dishes I love and have been dying to write about. The Boy isn't keen on messing with the usual Sunday routine, including the traditional Sunday roast, so this weekend I took the opportunity to roast a chicken... Thai style! 

Thai-style roast chicken with noodle salad

This is a fantastic recipe from, I think, a Tesco recipe card from earlier this year. It combines all of my favourite flavours and uses ingredients which can usually be found in my kitchen. Plus, it requires roasting a whole chicken after rubbing a fragrant, fiery sauce under the skin, which always spells a good meal for me! Don't let the length of the ingredients list put you off; it is relatively quick and easy to prepare the paste for the chicken and the noodle salad.

Here's what you need (serves 6):

For the chicken...
1.5kg / 3lb chicken 
5cm piece ginger, chopped - I usually cheat here and use a generous squeeze of my ginger paste
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 stalks lemongrass, inner leaves finely chopped - don't throw the outer leaves away!
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
1-2 limes, zested and juiced  - NB: last time I made this I must have picked up two abnormally juicy limes because they produced far too much liquid and made the resulting paste too runny. After zesting and juicing, keep the lime skins as you'll need them later.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vegetable oil for roasting

For the noodles...
2 limes, juiced
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp light brown soft sugar
300g fresh rice noodles
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 cucumber, deseeded and sliced into half-moon shapes
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
100g beansprouts
1 bunch spring onions, sliced
Small handful of fresh coriander
Small handful of fresh mint leaves

1. First, preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius and make the paste to rub all over the chicken meat. Blitz the ginger, garlic, inner leaves of the lemongrass, chilli, lime zest and juice, and 1 tbsp of oil in a blender until the mixture is just puréed. Add a little salt. 

2. Next, prepare the chicken. Grab a large roasting tin and lift the skin of the chicken, from the neck end, and push your hand in between the skin and the meat, separating them as far over the body of the chicken and into the legs as you can. 

3. Once loosened (be careful not to rip the skin at all), push the paste under the skin and rub it down to distribute evenly. Rub the outside of the chicken skin with the teaspoon of oil, season with salt and pepper, and add the lime skins and outer leaves of the lemongrass stalks to the cavity of the chicken. 

4. Roast in the oven for 1 hour 20 minutes or until cooked through / juices run clear when leg is pierced with a skewer. 

5. When the chicken is nearly ready, prepare the ingredients for the noodle salad. Mix the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar in a small saucepan and warm gently to melt the sugar. 

6. Let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes on a board. Meanwhile, mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet (usually a couple of minutes in a hot wok or frying pan with a touch of oil will do the job). Toss the noodles, still in the pan, with the warmed sauce and the salad ingredients. 

7. Slice the chicken and serve on top of the noodles, with some roughly chopped fresh herbs. 

Enjoy! :-)