Chicken and Vegetables with Coconut Cream

Spicy, aromatic, rich, and, best of all, fast. This is an express version of my mixed vegetables with coconut cream. Chicken thigh fillet strips are sauteed and then boiled gently with parboiled vegetables in coconut cream. Chicken fillets, especially when cut into thin strips, cook for a few minutes. The chilis add just the right amount of heat. The kaffir lime leaf gives this dish a wonderful aroma and subtle citrus flavors. And while nothing compares with freshly extracted coconut cream, sometimes, life’s realities demand that we indulge ourselves with small modern conveniences like canned or powdered coconut cream.

Boil about three cups of water in a pan. Add the diced carrots, potatoes, and eggplants — in that order with a three-minute interval between additions. The carrots take the longest to cook and the eggplants require the least cooking time so, by adding them to the boiling water in that order, chances are they will all cook at the same time.

While the vegetables cook, heat the cooking oil in a shallow pan (a wok works best). Saute the garlic, onions, tomatoes, ginger, chilis and kaffir lime leaf until fragrant. Add the chicken strips, season with fish sauce, and cook, stirring often, for four to five minutes which should be enough time to cook the chicken through. When the vegetables are done, drain them and refresh them in cold water. Drain well.

When the chicken is done, pour in the coconut cream and bring to a gentle boil. Add the cooked vegetables, cook just until reheated, then turn off the heat. Taste the sauce, add more fish sauce, if necessary. Transfer the chicken, vegetables, and sauce to a shallow bowl, top with snipped cilantro, if you like, and serve hot. Best with rice.