We have probably ordered this umami bomb dish more times than any other Thai restaurant meal. When it’s prepared authentically it is haunting.
For us, this dish is a kind of yardstick for a Thai restaurant, a way of measuring how committed the restaurant is to traditional umami flavors. We usually just end up making it at home these days because we can gather the ingredients more easily, whether at the supermarket or online.
For one thing, a huge flavor component of this feast is thinly sliced Kaffir lime leaves… but you get very little in restaurants. So… on our back yard patio, there is a Kaffir lime tree. It is so happy and abundant, and although that little tree lives along the coast of Central California and not, you know, in Thailand… it thrives. It’s a mutual love affair. So in our version of Prik King Chicken, there is tons of Kaffir lime leaves.
Also, in spite of the fact that this is a chicken meal, one of the secrets to the umami flavors is the quality of the fish sauce. We only use @redboatfishsauce and it makes a big difference. As for the name, there are many ways this dish is spelled… Prik King, Prik Khing, Phrik King, and Phrik Khing. We use the most popular spelling in American restaurants.
Also, the word Prik in Thai means chili, and King (Khing) means ginger. As you can imagine, we use tons of chili and ginger, which is traditional. This entire recipe is going up on our blog today. Give it a whirl! You will be thrilled. Enjoy!
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces, lightly salted
1/2 pound French green beans (haricot vert) two inch pieces
1 can (4 oz), or 4 heaping tablespoons, Prik Khing Curry Paste (we use Maesri brand from Thailand)
1/2 cup rich chicken bone broth
4 large cloves garlic, minced
2 inches ginger, grated
1 to 2 shallots, minced
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 to 4 limes, juiced
4 tablespoons coconut oil, (1 for the marinade, 1 for frying the chicken, and 2 for the garlic/ginger)
7 – 10 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced, core of leaf discarded
no additional salt is needed
In a small food processor, mince the shallots and the garlic.
Place the already cut up chicken pieces into a plastic bag and add the fish sauce, 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil, lime juice, half the ginger, half the garlic, half the shallots, the vinegar, and all the brown sugar. Close the bag and mix them well and allow the chicken to marinate while you prepare the rest of this little feast… about 15 minutes.
Using a large wok on your highest BTUs, heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil until it coats the walls and is starting to smoke, now add the chicken. Spread the pieces evenly along the sides and allow to slightly sear, about 4 to 5 minutes, remove and set aside.
To the marinade left on the bottom, add the last 2 tablespoons of coconut oil on medium heat, with the wok not yet smoking, add the last half of the garlic, ginger and shallots. Stirring often, heat until it’s sizzling.
Add the curry paste and fry until loose and aromatic, about 2 minutes.
Add the chicken broth to deglaze and allow the sauce to thicken until the consistency of a light gravy.
Add the strips of lime leaves and cook until aromatic (30 seconds) and then add the beans. With the heat back on high, and stirring occasionally, fry until beans are slightly limp but still slightly crunchy, 5 minutes.
Add back the chicken and wok fry until everything is coated, seared and glossy from the sauce, 2 to 3 minutes.
Serve on jasmine rice. Enjoy this feast from Thailand!