Lemon grass gives this South East Asian curry a wonderful lemony flavour and fragrance.
1 chicken, about 1.5 kg (3 - 3 1/2 lb)
225 g (8 oz) sweet potatoes
60 ml (4 tbsp) vegetable oil
1 onion, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
30 - 45 ml (2 - 3 tbsp) Thai curry powder
5 ml (1 tsp) sugar
10 ml (2 tsp) fish sauce
600 ml (1 pint) 2 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 lemon grass stalk, cut in half
350 g (12 oz) rice vermicelli, soaked in hot water until soft
1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve
for the garnish
115 g (4 oz) beansprouts
2 spring onions, finely sliced diagonally
2 red chillies, seeded and finely sliced
8 - 10 mint leaves
1. Skin the chicken. Cut the flesh into small pieces and set aside. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into large chunks, about the size of the chicken pieces.
2. Heat half the oil in a large heavy saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and fry until the onion softens.
3. Add the chicken pieces and stir-fry until they change colour. Stir in the curry powder. Season with salt and sugar and mix thoroughly, then stir in the fish sauce.
4. Pour in the coconut milk and add the lemon grass. Cook over a low heat for 15 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan. Fry the sweet potatoes until lightly golden. Using a slotted spoon, add them to the chicken. Cook for 10 - 15 minutes more, or until both the chicken and sweet potatoes are tender.
6. Drain the rice vermicelli and cook it in a saucepan of boiling water for 3 - 5 minutes. Drain well. Place in shallow bowls, with the chicken curry. Garnish with beansprouts, spring onions, chillies and mint leaves and serve with lemon wedges.
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