The sun is finally shining and summer is here! Nothing says sunshine to me more than mangoes so I decide to buy a whole box of heavenly, golden mangoes and know I won’t have any problems using them. So, you will find a few mango recipes on the site as a result! One of my favourite salads is a chicken, asparagus and mango salad but tonight I want to be a bit more exotic, so I opt to use a few of them in a rice salad served with some spicy Thai chicken.
You can obviously cheat and buy the red Thai curry paste but making your own tastes so much more vibrant and fresh than shop bought. The first time I made Thai curry paste using my pestle and mortar the white kitchen walls were splattered with a beautiful pattern of red chillis. I once did a Thai cookery course whilst on holiday and had great fun making curry paste with a huge pestle and mortar – until the chilli flew up in my eye! Ouch.
I now make it in a mini food processor and it does make life a lot easier. It also gives me an excuse to use my favourite kitchen gadget that I use regularly to make spice pastes, dressings and pestos.
The amount for the paste given here is more than enough for the recipe but it keeps well in the fridge in a sterilized jar for up to 3 weeks, so you don’t have to use it all at once unless you really want a real lip tingling experience. I use normal red chillis but if you find Thai ones then use these, although be warned they are a lot hotter.
I have been a bit lazy here and used boneless thighs. I do generally try and joint chicken, which works out cheaper, but when you want 6 thighs then it’s a whole different story! You can use breast meat but I find thighs are so much tastier and they don’t dry out as easily when cooking. If possible, cook the chicken on the bbq but you can also cook this in the oven too, as I did in this instance – just add 5 minutes onto cooking time. The rice salad is a great side dish as it goes well with any South East Asian, Indian or Caribbean style food.
35 minutes prep, 1-4 hours marinating and 10-15 minutes cooking
6 boneless chicken thighs
120g basmati rice
80ml coconut cream
20g cashews, toasted
Half bunch of spring onions
20g dessicated coconut, lightly toasted
1 tsp of sesame oil
Large handful of corriander
Red Thai curry paste
6 red chillis
2 tbsp lemongrass
1 tsp fresh corriander root or stalk
2 large garlic cloves
3cm piece of fresh ginger
1 tsp shrimp paste
1 tsp corriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch of white pepper
1 tsp salt
- To make the paste roughly chop the first 6 ingredients and put in a food processor. Add the rest of ingredients and process to a thick paste.
- Cut slashes into the chicken thighs. Combine half of the paste with the coconut cream and rub well into the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Rinse the rice well and boil enough water to cover the rice in a large saucepan by 1cm. Add the rice, stir and cover with a lid. Time for 8 minutes then turn off the heat and leave to stand still covered for a further 5 minutes. Fluff up the grains with a fork and leave to cool and set aside. I always use this method and it produces fluffy rice every time.
- Peel and dice the mango into small chunks. Remove the outer layer from the spring onions and finely chop. Roughly chop the cashews and the corriander. Add the rice to a large bowl along with the spring onions, coconut, cashews, corriander, juice of a lemon and the sesame oil. Add the mango to the bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
- When ready to cook light the bbq or preheat oven to 180C / gas 4 / 350F.
- Remove excess marinade and cook for 10-15 minutes until the juices run clear. Once the chicken is cooked, rest for a few. Serve with lime wedges and a generous portion of the mango rice salad.