Whacked Lemongrass Chicken Coconut Curry

Whacked Lemongrass Chicken Coconut Curry

Steamed: A Catharsis Cookbook for Getting Dinner and Your Feelings On the TableWhere is taking your feelings out with heavy mallets and sharp knives not just allowed—but encouraged? The kitchen, of course! And in Steamed, acclaimed food writers Rachel Levin and Tara Duggan offer readers fifty funny, feisty, and full-flavored dishes to channel frustration and rage into something utterly delicious.

For those inevitable moments when you’re boiling over, steaming mad, or just plain fried, turn to:

  • Pounded Chicken Parmesan
  • Ripped Bread Salad
  • Feeling Sad French Onion Soup
  • Tune-It-Out Tinga
  • Wailing Wasabi Tuna Bowl

. . . and many more in this ultimate ode to finding your chef’s knife-wielding, onion-crying, chicken-pounding culinary release.

Playful sidebars, including “Beat It All Out: When You Just Want to Whisk Like a Wild Woman,” teach technique and channel all those feelings into your new favorite dinner. For anyone looking for stress eating’s more constructive cousin, Steamed and catharsis cooking are here to lend a helping hand—or cleaver.

Steamed: A Catharsis Cookbook for Getting Dinner and Your Feelings On the Table is available at Amazon.com and Indigo.ca

Whacked Lemongrass Chicken Coconut Curry


This version of the Vietnamese chicken curry called cà ri gà, which has an Indian influence, is rich and aromatic rather than fiery like a Thai curry. It’s also easy to pull together. Whereas many recipes that use lemongrass call for the labor-intensive process of dicing its woody stalks, here you simply give them a good whack not unlike a 1940s schoolteacher, allowing the bruised pieces to infuse their floral, citrusy flavour into the sauce. Serve with a baguette to sop up the curry.

2 lemongrass stalks

1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 shallot, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, finely diced

1 tablespoon curry powder, preferably Madras style

1 to 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped into 3-inch chunks

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 large white or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into eighths

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks or rounds

1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk

1 to 1½ cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)

Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

1 baguette, for serving

Trim the bottom and top from the lemongrass, leaving all but the thickest 3 to 4 inches of the stalks. Peel away the outer three or so layers until you get down to the white core. Use a mallet to whack the core flat. It will crush easily and satisfyingly, like an old Buick in a junkyard.

Add enough oil to cover the surface of a large sauté pan, place over medium heat, and add the shallot, garlic, and curry powder. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicken, toss to coat in the spices and aromatics, and season with salt and pepper, then stir until thoroughly coated, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the potatoes, carrots, coconut milk, and 1 cup of the chicken stock and stir together. If you need to, add more stock to just barely cover the ingredients with liquid. Bring to a simmer, cover, and let bubble away until the chicken and vegetables are cooked through, 20 minutes. Taste the curry sauce for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper and the fish sauce, if you like. Remove the lemongrass stalks.

Ladle the curry into soup bowls, garnish with cilantro, and serve with the baguette alongside.

Excerpted from STEAMED: A Catharsis Cookbook for Getting Dinner and Your Feelings on the Table by Rachel Levin & Tara Duggan. Copyright © 2021. Available from Running Press, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.