Red Dragon: Thai Red Chicken Curry with Crispy Chicken Skin

Red Dragon: Thai Red Chicken Curry with Crispy Chicken Skin

 A while ago my friend Macks recommended I read Red Dragon, the first book in the Hannibal Lecter series, for my book-themed month and so this fiery curry is an attempt at translating that book into a dish.  Now, I’m not a fan of thrillers or horror novels, so I confess I went back to my English student days and worked from the sparknotes summary of the book instead. Due to the action in the novel I wanted to make something with a good kick of heat and spice in it, and a Thai red curry is a fab spicy dish to work with. Ideally this would be a dragon curry, but as dragons don’t seem to exist I had to go another way – but lets be honest, if dragons did exist they’d probably taste like chicken anyway!

This Thai red curry is served with crispy dragon/chicken skins (which are way easier to make than I would have thought!) and lime leaf rice. I’ve cooked rice in other recipes like this and I always find it makes it a bit more exciting. You  basically add a couple of fresh lime leaves to the water when cooking the rice and then grate a little lime zest over the rice when it’s plated and it makes the rice super fragrant and a perfect pairing for a warm curry like this.


Serves 4

Time: 45 minutes


  • 1 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp Root ginger, grated
  • 2 Garlic gloves, crushed
  • 1 Red chilli
  • 5-6 tbsp Red curry paste
  • 800ml Coconut milk
  • 8 Chicken thighs
  • 1 stick of Lemongrass
  • 2 tbsp Fish sauce
  • 1 tsp Brown sugar
  • A handful of Thai basil, plus some extra to serve

To serve

  • Jasmine rice
  • Zest of 1 Lime
  • 2 Fresh kaffir lime leaves


  1. Begin by heating the oil in a pan. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for 2 minutes and then add the curry paste and fry for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and then leave until oil rises to the surface.
  2. Take the skin off the chicken thighs with a sharp knife, keeping it for later, and then chop the meat into chunks. Then take the lemongrass and bash the end with the flat of a knife to squash it. Add the chicken meat and lemongrass to the curry and leave to simmer for 12 minutes until cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile put on a pan of water for the rice. Once boiling add the rice and the lime leaves, stir once to break up the grains and then leave to simmer until cooked through.
  4. Now make the crispy chicken skins. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Take the skins which you took off the thighs and spread them out flat on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle them with a little sea salt and then sandwich the skins with another sheet of baking paper and a baking tray.
  5. Cook the skins in the oven for 10-15 minutes until crispy and golden. Leave in the oven with the oven turned off until needed.
  6. Once the chicken is cooked add the fish sauce and sugar to the curry and then bring to the boil again. Then take the curry off the heat and add the Thai basil.
  7. Spoon the soup into serving bowls and top with a little more basil and the chicken skins. Drain the rice and then grate a little of the lime zest into the mixture and serve with the curry!

Note: If you have some leftover roast chicken it works really well in this!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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