I was inspired to try making Chicken and Winter Melon Curry (Gang Keow Wan Gai or แกงเขียวหวานไก่) after watching Full House (Thai Version). It’s with both chicken meat and chicken …feet!
This is not a common dish in the US and I don’t have many US friends who eat chicken feet, actually. Most often, I’ve seen chicken feet served braised at Chinese dim sum. They can be very tasty but are considered a lot of work and messy to eat because there’s so many bones. Personally, I figure it’s not that much messier or work intensive than eating buffalo chicken wings, so if you like chicken feet, this might be a fun dish for you.
2 cans coconut milk
2 lb chicken thighs, cut in half with bone in
1.5 lb chicken feet, cleaned with claws cut off
4 – 6 Tablespoons green curry paste (to taste)
2 to 4 cups Thai eggplants, cut into quarters
2 cups Winter Melon (Ash Gourd), peeled and cut into thin slices
6-8 kaffir lime leaves
1 bunch fresh Thai basil, wash and strip off leaves, discard stems
2 to 4 teaspoon fish sauce (to taste)
1 to 2 teaspoon palm sugar (optional)
2 to 4 Thai red peppers, sliced thinly at an angle
(Note: Thai cooking is not an exact type of cooking style. EVERYTHING is give or take a bit depending on preference and taste. It turns out a bit different every time.)
Prepare chicken feet by cleaning well in cold water and clipping off the claws.
In a large pot, add 2 can coconut milk and 2 can water (just measure water using the coconut milk can). Add a teaspoon of palm sugar and a splash of fish sauce. Add chicken feet and the rest of the chicken meat to simmer for about 2 hours or until all meat is cooked through and tender.
If you haven’t prepared your vegetables yet, this is a good time to wash and cut them.
Spoon two to three tablespoons of coconut milk mixture from cooking the chicken pieces into a very large pot or super-sized wok over medium-high heat. Add the 4 to 6 tablespoons of green curry paste (less if you prefer curry less spicy). Use a wooden spoon to stir the curry paste into the small amount of coconut milk until smooth and bubbly and continue to cook until curry paste changes color and becomes very pungent, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Add cooked chicken feet and chicken meat. Stir to ensure that all chicken pieces are separate and coated in curry paste.
Add the coconut milk mixture to cover. Stir gently and bring to a simmer. Lower to low heat and add Thai eggplant quarters, winter melon, kaffir lime leaves, and basil leaves.
Allow to simmer for 1/2 hour to an hour. Add fish sauce in teaspoon increments, stirring thoroughly and tasting each time until the curry is salted to taste. Add palm sugar a teaspoon at a time to taste also. (Sugar should be used sparingly here, only to deepen flavor and not to make the curry actually sweet. The winter melon and eggplant already have a natural sweetness.) Add Thai peppers a few slices at a time depending on how much more spicy heat you want to add to the curry.
Allow to simmer covered for a total of 2 hours so that chicken is very tender. The longer this cooks, the better the flavors develop so don’t worry about allowing to simmer longer covered.
- This is a low to medium spicy curry for me. If you don’t prefer spicy curry, you can reduce the amount of curry paste and opt out of adding the peppers to the curry during cooking. Just before serving, slice Thai red peppers in half and clean out seeds (this is where the majority of the hot flavor is). Slice the red halves in thin slivers and sprinkle across the top as garnish.
- Winter melon is also known as Christmas melon, wax gourd, or ash gourd. It might be difficult to acquire. Chayote is a reasonable substitute or even zucchini.
Serve with Thai white rice.