All Aboard! Spicy Chicken on Endive 'Boats'

All Aboard! Spicy Chicken on Endive ‘Boats’

Now whenever anyone near and dear visits us here in bustling Hong Kong, it is, of course, a chance for much feasting – dim sum, roast goose, more dim sum, local cantonese dishes, roast goose, dim sum again, not to mention the many, oh too many top notch restaurants serving multinational cuisines, peppering the city. Needless to say, while delicious for our tummies, we both realised we had maybe indulged just a tad too much. So we decided to detox and have a good think about our eating habits.

While we have always strived to make healthy, wholesome dishes at home, our eating out habits were far from exemplary. Now, there is nothing wrong in enjoying one’s food (god know we do), and desserts are great! But we realise some routines are in order, and maybe a couple of weeks low-carb, low-sugar eating can restore order to our body. In any case, as Darsh always says, healthy can be yummy! So she set out to come up with some filling, and satisfying meals for us to enjoy, minus the guilt, starting out with this dish – spicy chicken in endive ‘boats’.

The spicy, tangy Thai and Indian-inspired minced chicken goes well with the bitter undertones of the endive leaves. The leaves themselves form such cute little boat shapes, perfect for holding spoonfuls of that delicious chicken. If you aren’t a fan of the bitter leaves, simply replace them with lettuce. This meal is filling, so tasty, AND we didn’t miss the rice at all.


  • 4 skinless chicken breast, rough minced
  • 2 large red chilies, rough chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves [or 6 lemon leaves]
  • 1 thumb-size ginger, rough chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Handful mint, chopped
  • Handful basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 large head endive, leaves separated and soaked in cold water to prevent browning. [Discard smaller leaves]


  1. In a food processor, blitz chilies, ginger, kaffir lime or lemon leaves and garlic till fine. You can also use the blender if you prefer a finer paste, but try to add as little liquid as possible.
  2. Dry toast the cumin seeds for a minute or so, until you get the aroma of cumins, and set them aside to cool.
  3. In a wok, heat the olive and sesame oils on high heat.
  4. Working fast, fry the spicy paste for about 30 seconds before adding the chicken, chili powder, turmeric powder and toasted cumin seeds.
  5. Mix all the ingredients n the wok so that they are well incorporated and break up any clumps of mince meat sticking together. Allow to cook for a few minutes, about 3 to 4 minutes, taking care to stir to prevent burning.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium and throw in the fish sauce.
  7. Have a taste and if still not salty enough, add soy sauce. Let mince mixture cook four another 3 to 4 minutes.
  8. Throw in the diced onions and cook the mixture till it isn't wet.
  9. Add the lime or lemon juice, turn off the heat and throw in the mint and basil leaves.
  10. Transfer chicken to serving bowl.
  11. Dry the endive leaves and serve with chicken, allowing guests to spoon the chicken on the endive 'boats' themselves.


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