FoodA Thai favorite with a celebrity touch

A Thai favorite with a celebrity touch


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Chicken curry has always been on the dining table of the family since Judy Ann Santos was small. But when she visited Thailand with her family as an adult, she discovered the Thai version of the dish, with the aromatic flavors of kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and coriander. She recreated the dish in her own kitchen, and had the brilliant idea of adding lychees into it. The fruity twist made a lot of difference in the taste. Now, chicken curry with lychees is a staple at the Agoncillo dining table.

Judy Ann included this dish in her cookbook, Judy Ann’s Kitchen, released by Anvil Publishing Inc. in 2015. This was also one of the dishes whose recipes she shared when she was featured in a Mother’s Day-Father’s Day food promotion at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel back in 2015.


2 Tbsp canola oil

1 pc medium-sized onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 pc thumb-sized ginger, julienned

1 Tbsp red curry paste*

4 pcs chicken thighs, skin on

4 pcs chicken legs, skin on

2 Tbsp fish sauce, divided

2 cups coconut milk (second extract of pressed grated coconut)

1 Tbsp curry powder

1 Tbsp brown sugar

3 pcs medium-sized potatoes, quartered

2 pcs carrots, quartered

1 pc big red bell pepper, quartered

1 cup kakang-gata (fresh coconut cream or first extract)

3 pcs kaffir lime leaves

2 Tbsp lemongrass, minced

1 can lychees, drained

Freshly ground pepper to taste

  1. In a wok, heat oil, and sauté onion, garlic, and ginger. Add curry paste and sauté for two minutes.
  2. Add chicken. Season with 1 Tbsp fish sauce. Next, pour in coconut milk. Add curry powder and brown sugar. Simmer until chicken is tender.
  3. Add potatoes, carrots, and bell pepper. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  4. Add coconut cream, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and lychees. Season with pepper and remaining fish sauce.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

To make the red curry paste:

2 pcs medium-sized shallots or red onions, finely chopped

1 stalk lemongrass, white part only

2 pcs red chilies

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 pc thumb-sized ginger, minced

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp ground white pepper

1 tsp muscovado sugar

2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

  1. Mix all ingredients.
  2. Pound in mortar and pestle until mixture achieves a thick consistency.

Portrait by Allan Sancon

Food Photograph by Rafael Zulueta


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