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Author Notes: This fragrant recipe almost created itself. I was boiling together chicken and rice with slices of onion and ginger when my eyes fell on fresh lemongrass lying in the fridge. The rest of the rice just seemed to follow. One might use jasmine rice for a recipe that uses lemongrass, but for this, I wanted to do away with the floral hint, and chose basmati instead. 'Basmati' in sanskrit means "the fragrant one", and its earthy, exotic notes shared space beautifully with the lemongrass.
The fritters add a crunchy texture to the smooth milkyness of the rice. These fritters are made with fresh, green coriander - a crunchy little treat that I used to love as a child, and still do. —Pia
Milky chicken & lemongrass rice
- 1 cup Basmati rice
- 2 fillets chicken breast, cut into generous cubes
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 2 inch ginger, cut in long strips
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons thai fish sauce
- 2 cups water
- Salt to taste (remember the fish sauce is salty too)
- Chopped red chillies, as garnish
- A few sprigs of coriander, as garnish
- Put all the ingredients, except the chillies and coriander, in a large pot or pan that you can cover.
- Bring to the boil, then lower heat and put the lid on. Let it simmer for 15 minutes. (This dish cooks itself without any oil.)
- After 15 minutes, take the lid off and give it all a good stir. Put in another 1/2 cup water. Stir and simmer (almost like a risotto) for a few minutes till the rice looks creamy and the chicken is cooked.
- Serve, garnished with a few pieces of chopped red chillies and a sprig of fresh coriander.
Green coriander fritters
- 2 cups fresh coriander, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon chopped ginger
- 4-5 tablespoons flour
- 2 pinches black pepper
- Salt to taste
- Oil for frying
- Mix all the ingredients together with your fingers.
- Now, add water, a little at a time, till it forms a thick, coarse, leafy batter.
- Heat oil in a pan.
- Pick up some of the mix between your fingers, flatten it into a small round and slip it into hot oil. Deep fry till golden brown and drain on kitchen towel.