In this dish, based on one in SAVEUR editor-in-chief James Oseland's Cradle of Flavor (W. W. Norton, 2006), cinnamon and lemongrass give the silky sauce fragrance and spice.
- 1 tbsp. coriander seeds
- 1⁄2 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 (4" piece) ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp. peanut oil
- 5 fresh or frozen Kaffir lime leaves
- 4-6 (4" sticks) cinnamon
- 1 stalk lemongrass, tied into a knot (see Tying Lemongrass)
- 3 lb. chicken thighs and legs
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 3⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 cups cooked jasmine rice, for serving
Finely grind coriander and chile flakes in a spice grinder. Put spice mixture into a small food processor with garlic, onions, and ginger; purée to a paste. Add 1–2 tbsp. water, if necessary.
Heat oil in a 5-qt. Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add paste; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 5–7 minutes. Add lime leaves, cinnamon, and lemongrass. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cinnamon is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium, add chicken, and cook, turning once, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Stir in 1 cup coconut milk, 1 1⁄4 cups water, and salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender, 40–50 minutes. Add remaining coconut milk; cook for 2 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving with the rice.