Thursday, 29 December 2011

Thai Green Chicken Curry Kebabs

A BEACH SHACK BARBECUE. Yanchep, Western Australia

We have just returned from a glorious day and night staying with dear dear friends on our trip to Perth for the festive season. They've rented one of the last standing old beach shacks for a week or so in Yanchep, about an hour north of Perth.

We arrived in time for lunch, spent the afternoon lazing about in the shack and on the beach before Ian and I went to the local shops to gather some bits for the sunset barbecue. We returned with a pile of chicken breasts, some Thai green curry paste, spring onions, a tin of coconut cream, some skewers, veggies and other bits and bobs.

The barbecue menu consisted of the chicken kebabs, mixed veg kebabs, grilled sweetcorn and barbecued papadums (yes you can barbecue papadums). An array of salads and other delights made up the buffet style meal for eight hungry mouths.



- 8 medium chicken breasts, cut into 2-3cm cubes
- 1 small jar of green chicken curry paste
- 1 tin of coconut cream
- 1 bunch of spring onions, cut into 2-3 cm lengths


Spoon off the thick cream from the tin of coconut leaving the clear liquid behind. Don't shake the tin before you open it otherwise the cream won't stay separated. Add the coconut cream, diced chicken and curry paste to a large bowl and marinate for at least one hour. The longer the better. While the chicken is marinating, pre-soak the bamboo skewers in water to help prevent them burning on the barbecue.

On the skewers, start with a piece of chicken, then spring onion, then chicken and so on, finishing with a piece of chicken to hold it together. It takes a while, but I find it quite therapeutic. It was a good opportunity to have a chat

Grill the kebabs for about 5-7 minutes each side until they are charred just nicely on both sides. Chicken breast cooks quickly and will dry out if overcooked. Should you choose to use chicken thigh instead, it needs to cook more gently for a lot longer.

The left over liquid from the coconut cream did not go to waste. I poured it over some ice with a teaspoon of sugar and a generous measure of vodka. It made two surprisingly good beachy digestifs!

The sunset was beautiful and after our meal we just sat out and gazed at the stars in the southern sky. We watched the moon set beyond the horizon and retired to an incredibly peaceful sleep. A big thanks to Linda and Ian for sharing their holiday shack with us and for their wonderful company and conversation.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

A Balinese Beach Barbeque

Our five days in Bali en route to visiting family in Perth for Christmas was bound to present plenty of firefoodie fascinations. I'd read about the famous beach barbecues at Jimbaran Bay and was dying to get closer to some real traditional open fire cooking. This Indonesian island delivered in abundance.

One evening we set out to try one and Suara, our driver (and now great friend) dropped us off at a place simply called 'JBS'. The tables were arranged on the sand facing the sun set and we selected seafood from tanks which was then weighed, cleaned and grilled over charcoal to order. We made one big mistake however, we got there after sunset, so we missed that bit, and by then the selection of seafood was fairly limited.

One largish baramundi, a small crayfish and four giant prawns hit the scales before being passed on to the cooks for grilling. We returned to our table in the sand, had a few drinks and enjoyed the live entertainment.

The seafood was seasoned with traditional Balinese spices and grilled to perfection. It was served simply with steamed rice, steamed vegetables and some soy/spicy sauces on the side. The four of us devoured the lot in no time.

For an island where things generally cost very little, somehow this was one of the most expensive meals we had. Mainly because it is frequented by tourists, so next time, and there will be a next time because Bali is amazing, we will hunt out the places where the locals eat.

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