Gaeng Rawaeng


At Nari in San Francisco, chef Pim Techamuanvivit's gaeng rawaeng, a whole Cornish game hen submerged in a deeply savory golden curry redolent with spices is served with impossibly flaky roti for sopping. In this recipe, a small chicken—standing in here for the Cornish game hen in the original dish—gently cooks in a velvety sauce of coconut milk spiced with chiles and galangal, a piney, citrus-flavored cousin of ginger. Don't shake the cans of coconut milk—the solidified cream and liquid are added separately. Refrigerate the cans for about 1 hour prior to cooking to encourage separation. Use a mix of green chile varieties to suit your preference for piquancy.

Gaeng Rawaeng
Photo: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell
Total Time:
1 hrs


Curry Paste

  • 5 ounces assorted fresh green chiles (Thai chile, serrano, and/or jalapeño), seeded and chopped

  • ¼ cup chopped lemongrass (from tender bottoms of 2 lemongrass stalks)

  • 1 ounce fresh turmeric root, peeled and chopped (about 3 tablespoons), or 1/2 tablespoon ground turmeric

  • ½ ounces fresh galangal, peeled and chopped (about 2 tablespoons)

  • 4 fresh cilantro roots or stems, chopped

  • ¼ teaspoon coriander seeds

  • ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • teaspoon ground mace

  • ½ whole star anise


  • 2 (13 1/2-ounce) cans coconut milk (not shaken or stirred)

  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon fish sauce (such as Red Boat), divided

  • 1 3-pound whole chicken, wings tucked

  • 1  lemongrass stalk, halved crosswise

  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar, or to taste

  • 5 mini sweet peppers (about 4 1/2 ounces), seeded and cut lengthwise into ¼-inch-wide strips

  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh Thai basil leaves or lemon basil leaves

  • Warm roti, for serving


Make the curry paste

  1. Combine green chiles, lemongrass, turmeric, galangal, cilantro, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, mace, and star anise in a blender. Process until mixture is finely chopped and starts to form a paste, about 2 minutes, stopping to push mixture down using a plunger or lemongrass stalk as needed.

Make the chicken

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spoon out thick coconut cream from tops of coconut milk cans to measure 1 cup. Reserve remaining coconut milk in cans. Place thick coconut cream and curry paste in a 4- to 5-quart Dutch oven. Cook over medium, stirring constantly, until a layer of oil shimmers on top and mixture appears curdled, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup fish sauce. Add chicken, breast side up, and spoon curry mixture over top until chicken is well coated. Add reserved coconut milk to sauce around chicken; stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium. Cover Dutch oven, and transfer to preheated oven. Roast until chicken is tender and a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of thighs registers 155°F, 30 to 40 minutes, basting chicken with curry sauce once after 20 minutes.

  2. Insert tongs in chicken cavity; carefully remove chicken, and set aside on a large plate. Bring curry mixture to a boil over medium-high. Add lemongrass; cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce starts to reduce and thicken, about 5 minutes. Add brown sugar and remaining 1 tablespoon fish sauce; stir to combine. Add mini sweet peppers; return chicken to Dutch oven. Cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers soften slightly, about 3 minutes.

  3. Transfer chicken, curry sauce, and lemongrass to a deep serving platter. Sprinkle with basil, and serve with roti.


Look for galangal, lemongrass, turmeric root, cilantro roots, and Thai basil at Asian markets.

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