It takes some time to make this poached chicken dish but it is really worth it. It is super-tasty and also really light, despite the coconut milk that I add to the broth.
Coconut milk is, along with other coconut products, quite nutritious. It does contain saturated fat but coconut is rich in medium-chain fatty acids which the body processes differently than other saturated fats. These medium-chain fatty acids promote weight maintenance without raising cholesterol levels.
Time-wise...Well, you have to poach a whole chicken for about 1 hour and 20 minutes (you need a big pot for this). But it's not difficult to make this dish. There is plenty of time to prepare the vegetables for the stir-fry while the chicken is simmering – and probably enough time to read half the weekend newspaper as well.
Any left-over poached chicken could be used for a salad the next day, or be added to a soup.
For 4 people:
1 whole good quality organic or at least free-range chicken
1 onion, peeled and halved
thumb-size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
3 lemon grass, bashed
A bunch fresh coriander (cilantro), stalks and leaves separated (save the leaves for garnish)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
2 whole cloves
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
For the broth:
800ml, 1½ pint, 3½ cups, chicken stock from the water you’ve been poaching the chicken in
400ml, 3½floz, 1¾ cups, coconut milk
Salt and pepper
For the stir-fried vegetables:
2 tablespoons coconut oil - or use vegetable oil
Thumb-size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 red chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 fat garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1 small head of broccoli, cut into small florets, stem sliced
1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and cut into matchstick batons
1 red pepper (bell pepper), de-seeded and roughly chopped
2 spring onions (scallions), sliced
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
Juice of 2 limes
Coriander (cilantro) leaves
1. Place the chicken in a large pot and cover with water. Add the onion, ginger, lemongrass, coriander (cilantro) stalks, garlic, cloves, salt and peppercorns to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 1 hour 20 minutes. Skim off any scum, white froth, that forms.
2. Take the poached chicken out of the pot, discard the skin and use a fork to shred as much meat as possible off the bones. Strain the stock into a large bowl and throw away the solids.
3. Add 800ml/3½ cup of the stock and the coconut milk to a pot (you can freeze the rest of the stock). Bring to a simmer, taste and add a bit of salt and pepper if needed.
4. For the stir-fried vegetables, add the oil to a wok or large frying pan over quite a high heat. Once the wok or pan is hot, add the garlic, chilli and ginger and stir-fry for 30 seconds, then add the broccoli, carrots and red pepper (bell pepper) and keep everything moving, stirring frequently for 3 minutes. Add the spring onion (scallion) and the soy sauce and stir-fry for a further 30 seconds. Remove the wok or frying pan from the heat.
5. Add the juice of 2 limes to the simmering broth. Divide the chicken meat between 4 bowls, ladle the broth over the chicken, top with the stir-fried vegetables and scatter some coriander (cilantro) leaves over each portion.
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