An Image popped into my head; “Batter”, “Coconut”. A strange thought. Then again, another flash, “Chicken” and “Curry”. So vivid, it was almost real.
Then, a voice whispered… “If you whisk it, it’ll be yum!”
I turn; no one there.
Am I going crazy? I suddenly feel the need to cook. The image is so clear in my head, as is the aroma, the texture, the flavour. Am I touched by the Gods or merely touched in the head? I immediately rush to the market and fill a basket. At the end of the isle I see a Star Wars figurine of Darth Vader… wait a minute! James Earl Jones voiced Darth Vader… he was also in Field of Dreams!
The Voice, again, whispers… “Please, just pay!”
I rush home and begin the assemblage; time passes faster than usual and then I’m done! I have created my newest masterpiece!
“Do the Dishes…”
The voice again? I scream “What do you want from me?”
Behind me I hear, “Ahem!” and I turn to see… my pregnant life partner, arms folded. “Would you clean this mess up? Ooo, is that dinner?”
She takes the plate and disappears, shoeless. Good thing a made plenty.
So, Barbarians, allow the voices in my head to inspire you too. Say “Batter Up!” with this dish, The Culinary Barbarian’s, Crispy Coconut Battered Chicken with sweet pickles and Green Curry Dipping Sauce.
500g chicken thighs, cut into strips
Oil, for deep frying
2tbsp corn starch
¼ cup plain flour
½ cup shredded desiccated coconut (¼ for the batter, ¼ for rolling)
1tsp baking soda
200ml (1/2 can) coconut milk
2 tbsp cold water
1 continental cucumber, finely sliced
1/4 small onion, sliced
100g of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced paper thin
¼ cup white vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt (non-iodinated)
1 cup cold water
2tbsp Thai Green Curry Paste (kaeng khiao wan)
200ml coconut milk
1tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar
- In a 1Litre swing top jar, add the sliced ginger, cucumber and onion and sprinkle with the 2tbsp of salt. Stir to ensure that all of the vegetables are covered and rest for 10 min. Dissolve the sugar over low heat in the vinegar, do not boil. Remove from heat and add the cold water. Pour the brine over the vegetables and seal the jar. Sit for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
1Preheat the oil to 190°C
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, combined the sifted flour, corn starch, baking soda and salt. Whisk in the coconut milk until well combined. Add the ¼ cup of desiccated coconut and cold water and whisk through. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.
- Dredge the chicken pieces in the batter and then roll in additional desiccated coconut. Fry in batches (about 5 pieces) until puffed up and golden.
- In a small saucepan, fry the curry sauce until fragrant. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar and whisk until thick and reduced.
Garnish with sliced chillies (optional) and Serve with steamed rice.