I really don’t like the word ‘diet’. It’s got loads of negative connotations, the main one for me being that the word basically means we have to constrict what we eat. I don’t believe there is any one ‘diet’ that works for everyone – we are all built differently, physically, mentally and emotionally. What works for someone who’s slender and tall, with an outgoing personality, is unlikely to be the same as what works for someone who’s quieter, say, or of different ethnicity or build. We are all built to be unique, and how, when and what we eat has to be determined by what works for us.

Pete Evans, of My Kitchen Rules fame, is equally famous for some of his – shall we say, non-traditional food beliefs, some of which I don’t agree with. What I do think, though, is that he’s an excellent chef, and for people who are looking at lower-carb, keto or paleo options, his recipes are delicious.

His latest book, Easy Keto, I’m really enjoying. My husband is finding that eating keto style is really working for his body type, and at the moment, I’m making so many recipes from Pete’s book that I seem to be eating pretty keto myself at the moment, especially at night – and I feel loads better for it too.

This recipe, for Crispy Chicken in Lemongrass Broth, is such a wonderfully light dish, it works well in summer, and easily fills us up without the need for carbs at all – excellent if we have to eat late. I’ve included Pete’s recipe for Chicken Bone Broth here too, although I’ve made this with my own chicken stock and it’s still fantastic!

Crispy Chicken in Lemongrass Broth

I have been growing lemongrass in my garden for the last couple of years and love to use it for the beautiful aroma and flavour it imparts in my cooking. Adding lemongrass to a broth, as I have done here, creates a base for amazing Asian-inspired soups. Soups are always a great addition to your weekly menu as they are cheap, filling and nutrient dense. Feel free to add any low-carb veggies you love. The fattier cuts of chicken are best for this type of dish.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 litres Chicken Bone Broth (see below for Pete’s recipe)
  • 5 cm piece of ginger, sliced
  • 4 lemongrass stems, pale part only, bruised and halved
  • 4 coriander roots, washed and trimmed, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce, plus extra if needed
  • 2 bunches of choy sum (about 400 g), trimmed
    Crispy chicken
  • 4 boneless chicken thighs, skin on
  • sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or good-quality animal fat

    To serve

  • a few coriander sprigs
  • 1 large handful of bean sprouts
  • 1–2 long red chillies, thinly sliced
  • lime cheeks

Method

Place the broth, ginger, lemongrass, coriander root, garlic, lime leaves and fish sauce in a large saucepan over medium–high heat. Bring to the boil, turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse. Season with more fish sauce, if needed.

Add the choy sum and cook for 1 ½ minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, to make the crispy chicken, pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towel, then place between two sheets of baking paper and flatten slightly with a meat mallet. Season the skin with 2 teaspoons of salt.

Heat the coconut oil or fat in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium–high heat. Add the chicken thighs, skin-side down, and season the exposed flesh with a little salt. Fry, undisturbed, for 6–8 minutes until the skin is crispy and golden brown. Turn and cook for 3–4 minutes until cooked through. Transfer the chicken, skin-side up, to a wire rack and leave to rest for 5 minutes, before thickly slicing.

Divide the broth and choy sum among four warm serving bowls, add the chicken, coriander sprigs, bean sprouts and chilli and serve with lime cheeks on the side to squeeze over the top.

Per Serve: Total carbs: 10 g | Net carbs: 8 g | Fat: 29 g | Protein: 27 g | Fat 64% | Protein 27% | Carbs 9%

 

Chicken Bone Broth

Makes around 3.5 litres

Ingredients

  • 1–1.5 kg bony chicken parts (I like to use necks, backs, breastbones and wings)
  • 2–4 chicken feet (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 2 leeks, white part only, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic bulb, cut in half horizontally
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 large handfuls of flat-leaf parsley stalks

Method

Place all the ingredients in a stockpot, add 5 litres of cold water and let stand for 1 hour to help draw out the nutrients from the bones.

Place the pot over medium–high heat and bring to the boil, skimming off the scum that rises to the top. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 12–24 hours. The longer you cook the broth, the richer and more flavourful it will be.

Strain the broth through a fine sieve into a large container, cover and place in the fridge overnight until the fat rises to the top and congeals. Skim off the fat and reserve for cooking; it will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Transfer the broth to smaller airtight containers and store in the fridge for 3–4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Recipes extracted with permission from Easy Keto by Pete Evans, Published by Plum, RRP $ 27.99, Photography by William Meppem