Here is my take on this classic dish, I use on the bone chicken, skin on, versus the deboned chicken cubes, I feel it give more flavor leaving the chicken on the bone.
1 3 to 4lbs whole chicken, cut up
1 can unsweeten coconut milk
2 - 1/4 cups of dry vermouth
1/4 cup unsweeten shredded coconut
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 lemongrass stalks - see directions for prep
4 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
2 inches of fresh grated ginger
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
3 shallots, minced
1 cinnamon stick
5 cardamom pods, smashed
2-star anise pods, optional - Michael does not like the flavor so I usually do not use
A handful of Cilantro, chopped and stems removed
1/4 cup of chopped chives
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
1 teaspoon of raw sugar
Salt and Pepper
Lemongrass - Take one of the stalks and remove the outer layers, about 2, cut in half, discard the top half and grate the button half. With the second stalk, remove the outer layers about 2, cut in half, smash with a knife a few times and tie together with twine and set aside.
Time to make the paste: place in the food processor the grated lemongrass, ginger, shallots, garlic, jalapeno, turmeric, lime zest, and 2 tablespoons of the vermouth and pulse to form a paste. Set aside.
In a large deep skillet place over med-high heat melt butter and a drizzle of olive oil (about a tablespoon) once shimmering, working in batches, fry up the chicken until the skin is nice and crispy, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side, remove chicken to a plate, repeat until all chicken is crispy. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon. of fat from skillet.
In the same skillet add the spice paste and saute for about 3 to 5 minutes or until most of the liquid is gone and the paste starts to darken. Next add the coconut milk, cinnamon, cardamon, sugar, lime juice, the balance of the first 1/4 cup of vermouth, Anise pods (if using), and the tied lemongrass, stir and bring to a simmer, and return chicken to the skillet and simmer on medium to low heat until chicken is just about to fall off the bone, turn and scraping the bottom of the skillet a few times. This should take about 40 to 50 minutes.
Note: you want the. chicken cooked through so if some of the chicken is falling off the bone and other pieces are not remove the chicken that is ready, wrap in foil, and place in a warm oven until all chicken is done.
While chicken is simmering toast up the shredded coconut in a skillet or in the oven, set aside.
Once the chicken is all done, place on a serving platter, strain sauce, and return to the skillet and long with the remaining 1/4 cup of vermouth and saute until smooth and just about the consistency of heavy cream, remove from heat and stir in half of each the cilantro and chives and pour over chicken and garnish with the remaining herbs and toasted coconut.