This is one of our favourite dishes; it is lightly spiced, comforting, rich with coconut and it certainly leaves an impression. We often make a big batch of this for parties, specifically birthdays – Dad was a firm believer in the Chinese tradition of having noodles for good luck on your birthday! Guests can adjust their bowls to their own tastes by adding various multi-textured garnishes and condiments from a selection on the table.
5 tbsp oil (vegetable, sunflower or peanut), plus extra for browning the chicken
5 medium onions, chopped
10 garlic cloves, peeled
2 thumb-sized pieces of ginger, peeled
8 skinless and boneless chicken thighs, chopped into 3cm pieces
2 tbsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric powder
100g creamed coconut (the solid block type), or 200ml coconut milk would work
2 tbsp gram flour, toasted
600ml chicken stock
2–3 tbsp fish sauce
400ml cold water
6 nests (450–500g) dried chow mein or egg noodles, cooked
3 limes, cut into wedges
6 hard-boiled eggs, cut in half
4 shallots, thinly sliced
1 batch of crispy fried rice noodles
Chilli flakes or chilli oil
Heat the oil in a large casserole dish set over a medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook slowly, turning down the heat to low-medium and stirring every 4–5 minutes until softened and starting to lightly brown in colour and become oily but not crispy – this should take about 15 minutes.
Once the onions are ready, add the garlic and ginger paste and fry for 2 minutes to release the gorgeous flavours. Add a splash more oil, then brown the chicken pieces with the onion/garlic/ginger mix. Add the spices and creamed coconut, breaking it up into smaller pieces as you stir – it should melt. Stir in the toasted gram flour, followed by the chicken stock, fish sauce and the cold water. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer, uncovered, over a low, gentle heat for about 30 minutes. If the broth is too thick, add some water.
Serve hot on a bed of cooked egg noodles. Add a squeeze of lime juice and top with boiled eggs and the remaining garnishes in little bowls for everyone to help themselves to.
This article originally appeared on House & Garden UK.