Asian Inspired Coconut Chicken and Lentil Curry

My mother recently expressed her surprise at how she had managed to raise two children who were both such foodies – my younger brother is a fantastic and creative cook who has been hosting proper dinner parties when our parents have been out of town since his late teens. So it is with a bit of a feeling of pride that I am posting this original recipe of his, which he e-mailed to me the other day.

Hugh Gaukroger’s Asian Inspired Coconut Chicken and Lentil Curry
(serves 6)

– 500-600g Free-range hormone free chicken thighs
– Tomato paste (275g)
– Crushed tomatoes (a 425g tin)
– Full cream coconut milk (1 tin)
– Brown lentils, rinsed (1 tin)
– 1 Onion
– Olive oil
– Red curry paste (half teaspoon)
– 75ml Verjuice (an acidic juice made from unripe grapes)
– 75ml White wine vinegar (the verjuice and vinegar together should be about half a cup)
– 1 Lemon
– 1 Cube vegetarian chicken stock (in quarter cup of boiling water)
– Greek yoghurt
– Hot chillis, finely chopped (according to taste, but 2-3 small fresh chillies work well)
– 2 Teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
– 2 Teaspoons fresh lemon thyme, finely chopped
– 3-4 sprigs, fresh tarragon
– Salt and Pepper
– French shallots/scallions, chopped (the one thinner ones without the bulb on the end)

1. Cut chicken thighs into bite sized pieces.
2. Mix the juice of 1 lemon, chilli, a lot of pepper, salt, tarragon, a good dash of olive oil, white wine vinegar, and verjuice. Marinate the chicken in this mixture in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
3. Slice onion into half circles. Add a splash of olive oil to a large pot and sauté onion on medium heat until it begins to soften and golden.
4. Add chicken (including marinade, but removing tarragon) and raise heat to medium-high, cooking until all the chicken is just opaque white.
5. Add coconut milk, stock, red curry paste, crushed tomato, tomato paste, a large punch of salt and chopped rosemary and lemon thyme.
6. Turn heat up to high and bring to boil.
7. Once it starts to boil reduce to simmer and cook for 25 minutes.
8. Add lentils and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
9. Serve curry with large dollop of yoghurt and sprinkle over the shallots/scallions.

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