Leftovers: Thai Paste


Leftovers: Thai Paste

I whipped up an amazing little paste yesterday with some ingredients I had left over from the numerous Thai cookery classes last week.  Although it involved getting out my mini Kenwood processor,  I promise all the ingredients literally went into the bowl to be blitzed. Then it was simply a case of spreading over some chicken, tofu or in my case shitake mushrooms. For the chicken recipe I left it to marinate for a couple hours at room temperature (I’m not worried about bacteria, I had enough garlic in there to keep everyone at bay including Count Dracula). For the mushrooms I marinated them liberally, set aside for 30 minutes (they inevitably released water) and then pan-fried them on a low heat to caramelise them. Towards the end of the cooking process, I cranked up the heat to give them a crispy edge.  They were delicious!

To cook the chicken version, start with a hot skillet or heavy frying pan, gentle heat to cook through with just a brush of oil, then add a few drizzles of oil and slowly caramelise.  I got the thumbs up approval from my loyal and ever-ready guinea pigs – devotees of The Cooking Academy.

You could equally add some coconut milk towards the end of the cooking process and turn this into a curry or wet dish to serve with steamed rice or noodles, or apply a thin layer of the marinade to a piece of fish and grill it – healthy you!

There are many ideas to use this neat little marinade with a variety of ingredients, it’s so versatile. Do try it, it’s easy, tasty and healthy. Moreover, let me know how you get on!

Serves 4


For the marinade

  • 4 stalks of lemongrass – tough outer part removed
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 8 large stems of fresh coriander – stalks and leaves
  • 1 stalk of fresh green or black peppercorns
  • 1 green finger chilli
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • ½ tsp turmeric or 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp jaggery
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 8 chicken thighs boneless and skinless cut into 2 or 3 pieces

Preparation instructions:

  1. Place all the ingredients for the marinade into the processor bowl, blitz until a paste; it won’t be as smooth as other pastes such as red curry, since it has much less oil.
  2. Rub the paste on to the chicken pieces, massage well into chicken and set aside to soak up the flavours for about 1 hour at room temperature or refrigerate over night.
  3. Using a cast iron skillet or heavy based wide frying pan heat brush with a little oil and heat.  Place the chicken in the pan, spreading out the pieces to make as much contact with the surface.  Now cook on a low temperature to cook the chicken slowly, to tenderise and eventually caramelise.  Drizzle with a little more oil if necessary, and turn over the pieces after about 10 minutes on low heat.
  4. When cooked through, garnish with fresh coriander and serve with a hot chilli dipping sauce.



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