Asian lemongrass coq au vin

Fresh, sliced lemongrass, shiitake mushrooms and a whole tablespoon of chopped garlic make this dish lighter and brighter-tasting than the traditional coq au vin. It’s Cat Cora’s sublime makeover and you will adore it

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Serves 4-6

1 Organic Free-Range Chicken, 4lbs, skinned and cut into 8 pieces (4 breast pieces, 2 legs and 2 thighs)
Salt & coarsely-ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter, plus about 3 1/2 tbsp softened unsalted butter, if thickening the sauce
1 1/2 cups shallots, chopped
5 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms, quartered
4 to 5 stalks fresh lemongrass
1 tbsp garlic, minced
3 cups dry vermouth
2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, if thickening the sauce

Wash the chicken pieces and pat dry, then season each piece with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large skillet with a lid, heat 2 tbsp of the oil and the 1 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re soft and golden brown, about 7 minutes. Transfer the shallots to a plate and set aside.
Add the mushrooms to the hot pan and another 1/2 tbsp oil if necessary and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are evenly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and add to the plate with the shallots. Add another 2 tbsp oil to the pan and brown the chicken in batches, taking care not to crowd them in the pan. Transfer the pieces to a separate plate when they are fully browned.

Meanwhile, cut the bottom third from each stalk of lemongrass, peel off any outer fibrous skin, and finely mince the tender portion inside; you should have about 1/4 cup minced lemongrass (don’t worry if it’s a little more or a little less). Cut the remaining upper two thirds of the stalks into 2-inch lengths and set aside.

Turn the heat to low, add the minced lemongrass and the garlic to the pan, and cook for 10 to 25 seconds, until they release an aroma but are not browned. Turn the heat to high, add the vermouth, and deglaze the pan by scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom and sides of the pan with a wooden spoon.
Boil until reduced by about a quarter, 8 to 10 minutes.
Return the chicken to the pan and add the stock. Scatter the 2-inch pieces of lemongrass around the chicken, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the chicken is tender and cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and discard the pieces of lemongrass.

If you want to thicken the sauce (I often don’t), knead the remaining 3 & 1/2 tbsp butter with the flour until thoroughly mixed and whisk into the pan juices. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the floury taste is gone and the liquid is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.
If it’s not thick enough, knead together an additional 2 teaspoons flour and 1/2 tbsp butter and whisk it in, simmering until the liquid has thickened.
Add the chicken, mushrooms, and shallots to the pan, lower the heat, and baste with the sauce. Cook until the chicken pieces are heated through, about 10 minutes, and serve.

** Don’t make this dish unless your supermarket has fat, fresh-looking lemongrass stalks; pass up stalks that look discolored, dry, or wooden. You can freeze lemongrass, so when you find good fresh stalks, wrap them tightly in plastic and place in the freezer for up to a month. Let them thaw for 24 hours in your refrigerator before attempting to slice them.


Lemongrass prawns with Thai noodle salad

This is a very refreshing Asian-style salad, perfect for a hot day. We have a Kaffir lime tree (well worth having, if you cook a lot of Asian food) but if you can’t buy Kaffir lime leaves, then use some grated  lime rind instead. This is also a great do-ahead recipe if you’re entertaining.

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Serves 8

For Prawns and Noodles:

2 stalks lemongrass, white parts only (optional)
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 fresh Kaffir lime leaf, finely chopped (optional)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 lb tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
1 (8-oz) package bean thread (cellophane) noodles

For Dressing:

2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp chopped ginger
2 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp red pepper flakes

For Garnish:

2 Tbsp chopped cilantro, plus sprigs
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
4 spring onions, chopped


For prawns and noodles: Peel outer layer of lemongrass. Cut into very fine crosswise slices and transfer to a large bowl.

In same bowl, combine lime juice, ginger, sesame oil, olive oil, garlic, lime leaf, salt, and pepper. Add prawns and toss to coat. Chill for 1 hour.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high, cook prawns for 2 minutes on each side or until done. Transfer to a plate.

Put noodles in a bowl; cover with boiling water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Make dressing: In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients.

Add noodles and toss, then add prawns. Garnish with chopped cilantro, mint, spring onions, and cilantro sprigs.

Mixed Beans with Peanuts, Ginger, and Lime

This is a great summer throw-together to make when there are lots of beans at the market. Mix colors and types for the full effect. Another Yotam Ottolenghi gem

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Servings: 6

2 pounds mixed snap beans (such as green, wax, haricots verts, and/or Romano), trimmed
½ tsp kosher salt, plus more
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ large shallot, finely chopped
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
1  lemon grass stalk, tough outer layers removed, finely grated on a Microplane
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
½ tsp ground coriander
Freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup salted, roasted peanuts
3 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp finely grated lime zest
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
¼ tsp sugar
⅓ cup (packed) cilantro leaves with tender stems, plus more for serving

Working in batches by type, cook the beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 1–4 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice water; let cool. Drain and pat dry.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a small skillet over medium and cook shallot, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the ginger, lemongrass, garlic, and coriander and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in the same skillet over medium-high. Cook the peanuts, tossing often, until golden brown and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels; let cool, then coarsely chop. Set aside 1 tbsp peanuts for serving.
Whisk the kaffir lime leaves, lime zest, lime juice, sugar, ½ tsp. salt, and remaining 3 tbsp oil into the shallot mixture. Add the beans, remaining peanuts, and ⅓ cup cilantro and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with more cilantro and reserved peanuts.


Thai meatball coconut curry

What could be better than the comfort of meat balls surrounded by Thai flavors and swimming in coconut broth? Very little, if you ask me. I am sharing this recipe from “Delicious” magazine as there is nothing I would do to tweak it.You can freeze half of this for another time, which is perfect!

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Serves 4
3 tbsp olive oil
2 red bell peppers, sliced
4 to 5 tbsp Penang curry paste (You can use Thai kitchen Penang curry paste, if available)
2 x 14 oz cans coconut milk
1 each large red and green chilli pepper, de-seeded and finely shredded
6 scallions, (spring onions) thinly sliced
2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed and inner leaves finely diced
Juice of 2 limes, plus lime wedges to serve
5 to 6 oz ground almonds
Steamed rice, to serve

For the meatballs
2lbs ground pork
5 scallions, finely diced
1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely diced
2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed, inner leaves finely diced
good bunch of cilantro, leaves finely chopped
1 1/2 to 2 inch piece of ginger, grated
grated zest and juice of 2 limes
1 medium free range, organic egg

In a large bowl mix the ingredients for the meat balls. Season and with wet hands, form into about 40 walnut-sized balls. Put on a large plate and chill for 15 minutes or until needed.

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large, deep frying pan, add the meatballs in 2 batches and fry for 10 minutes until cooked through and browned. Remove and set aside.

In the same pan, heat the remaining olive oil, add the peppers and fry for 2 minutes until softened, then add the curry paste and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in the coconut milk, chillies,scallions, lemongrass and lime juice. Gently simmer for a few minutes then add the almonds and cook for a few minutes to warm through (add a little water or chicken broth if the curry sauce seems too thick)

Add the meatballs to the curry sauce and heat through. Divide half the curry among 4 serving bowls, sprinkle with cilantro leaves and serve with rice and lime wedges.

** Cool the remaining curry and spoon into a freezerproof container. Seal and freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw overnight in the fridge, then transfer to a saucepan and heat until the sauce and meatballs are piping hot.

Asian fish parcels with coconut rice

This dish is so easy to make and a delight to the senses. The coconut rice really makes a difference and gives an exotic richness to the rice. It’s well worth growing your own Kaffir lime tree either in a pot or in the garden. They are very easy to grow and you have instant Indonesian/Thai flavors at your doorstep.

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Serves 4

4 white fish fillets, 5 to 6 oz each, (haddock, halibut, sea bass or cod)
4 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
1 red chili, chopped
1 good sized shallot, thinly sliced
1 lime, sliced, plus extra lime halves to serve
2 lemongrass stalks, 1 roughly chopped and 1 bashed
10 1/2oz basmati rice
2 fresh or dried Kaffir lime leaves
2 fl oz  coconut milk or even better, coconut cream
salt to taste
dry roasted peanuts, chopped for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 F
Cut 4 pieces of nonstick baking parchment into a 12 inch square
Put a fish fillet in the center of each piece and arrange some of the cilantro, chili, shallot, lime and chopped lemongrass evenly over each.
Wrap them up into neat parcels, transfer them to a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, max.
Put the rice in a lidded pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer with the lid on for 10 minutes or until the rice is soft.
When the rice is cooked and the water is absorbed, stir in the coconut milk.
Serve with the rice alongside the fish parcels with some extra lime halves. If you serve with the parcels open, then sprinkle the fish with some finely chopped dry roasted peanuts.

Baked lemongrass and coriander fish

Baked lemongrass and coriander fish


Another mouthful of flavor explosions. This is also a very quick and light dish.

Serves 4

4 x 7oz fish fillets, like Chilean sea bass, halibut or cod
Plain (all purpose ) flour, seasoned with salt and pepper. (GF people can use coconut flour)
2 to 3 tbsp peanut oil
2 onions, sliced
2 lemongrass stems, white part only, finely chopped
4 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp finely chopped red chili
6 fl oz or 3/4 cup chicken stock
13 fl oz or 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 very large handful fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tsp fish sauce

Preheat the oven to 350F
Toss the fish fillets lightly in the seasoned flour.
Heat half the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan and cook the fish over medium heat until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer to a shallow…

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Asian roast chicken with red curry and coconut gravy

Roast chicken is my go-to comfort food if we’ve had a really busy week and have eaten out a lot. The week of the Oscars was like that and I was craving a roast chicken. This is a fabulous alternative to the usual traditional flavors in a roast chicken.

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1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp Thai spice blend or Chinese five-spice powder
½ tsp coarse salt
Grated zest and juice of 1 lime, plus extra 1 lime, halved
3 1/2 lb whole free-range chicken
2 lemongrass stalks, bruised
4 thick slices fresh ginger
2 lime leaves (look for Bart Spices dried lime leaves, from major supermarkets)
7 oz carton coconut cream
7 fl oz chicken stock, hot
1 tbsp Thai red curry paste

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Mix together the oil, spice blend, salt and lime zest and juice to make a paste. Rub the mixture evenly onto the chicken skin.
Pop the lime halves into the body cavity, along with the lemongrass, ginger and lime leaves. Sit in a roasting tin and roast for 1½ hours, until the chicken is cooked through.
Tip any juices inside the body cavity into the tin, then lift the chicken onto a plate and rest for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour off the fat, then stir the coconut cream, stock and curry paste into the juices left in the tin, and cook in the oven for a further 5 minutes, until hot.
Carve the chicken and serve with the coconut gravy and some steamed greens, such as pak choi, and rice.