Chicken curry with bamboo shoots

Yield: 4 servings

Measure Ingredient
4 fluid ounce Coconut cream
2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
1 Garlic clove finely chopped
1 tablespoon Red curry paste
2 tablespoons Fish sauce
1 teaspoon Sugar
6 ounces Boneless chicken breasts
4 fluid ounce Chicken stock
2 Kaffir lime leaves,roughly chopped
4 ounces Bamboo shoots, cut into slivers
20 Fresh holy basil leaves

METHOD: Gently heat the coconut cream in a small pan but do not let it boil. In a wok or frying pan heat the oil and fry the garlic until golden brown. Add the curry paste and stir well. Pour in the warmed coconut cream and stir until it begins to reduce and thicken.

Add the fish sauce and sugar and stir. Add the chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until the meat is opaque. Add the stock, stir and cook for one to two min- utes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Stir in the lime leaves, then add the bamboo shoots and basil leaves.

Stir, cook gently for a final minute and turn into a serving dish.

(Serves 4 as part of a meal)

Source: Hugo Arnold, EVENING STANDARD Friday 21st October 1994 Hugo Arnold's Commentary Follows.

THAI food seems to have erupted into British life over the past few years, particularly in pubs, where many have ditched sausages and chips for Nam Tok, Tom Yam Gung or Grat Doo Moo Nueng Dow Jeow - the latter being Thai spare ribs. Alongside this explosion runs the increasing availability of the ingredients necessary to produce these dishes - lemon grass, kaffir lime, galangal and a few cookery books to explain the process.

Vatcharin Bhumichitr wants us not only to cook Thai food, but to understand it. His latest book, Vatch's Thai Cookbook (Pavilion 17.99), groups recipes and writings under different ingredient headings. This approach, he hopes, will enable readers to appreciate the subtleties and origins of this intrinsically delicate cuisine. Mr Bhumichitr owns Chiang Mai, a Thai restaurant in Soho that serves up the sort of food I remember eating in Bangkok - light, delicate, spicy and well balanced an aspect frequently misunderstood, but well explained in this title. His book is full of similar recipes. Most are remarkably quick to cook, and ideal for that Thursday evening when you don't really have time to cook a stew or casserole. Today's recipe is from the bamboo shoots section of the book.

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