Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Thai Chicken Red Curry


For some it is pizza. For others it is pasta, cheeseburgers or ice cream. For me...


...comfort food is Thai Red Curry.  The spicy flavors of the curry paste merge gorgeously with the slightly sweet creaminess of coconut milk. Add a crunch of fresh veggies and some tasty chicken breast, and I'm down for the count. Wholly comforted.

This curry always reminds me of funny young officer who trained with YBS at The Basic School. One day YBS took in some leftovers from the previous night's dinner for his lunch. This guy takes one look at the meal and says, "Dude, I thought your wife was Australian. How come she cooks all this ethnic food?"

Ethnic?? I'm not even sure what that means.

We ended up having him over for dinner, and I served this Thai Red Curry to him. I then proceeded to lecture him on the basic components of Thai cuisine, and why you cant simply group all Asian food under the heading "ethnic" blah blah blah.

He never commented on my food after that. Come to think of it, he never came over for dinner again. Its the price of being right about everything a bossy know-it-all, I suppose.

To cut an eye-rollingly-tedious story short, Thai Red Curry is one of my favorite all time comfort foods.



You'll need: Thai Red Curry Paste, Coconut milk, (you can find these in the "Ethnic" section of your supermarket. Har har); oil (vegetable or sesame); 1lb (or 500grams) of chicken breast, sliced into strips; 1 large or 2 small red onion; 2 carrots, sliced; 2 red bell peppers (capsicums); and about 6 oz (about 200 grams) snow peas.

Optional: 1 Tsp fish sauce; 1 Tsp lime juice; 1 Tsp brown sugar; 1/4 - 1/3 cup of fresh basil, roughly chopped.

Note: these additional ingredients really enhance the flavor of the curry, and bring it the closest I have come to a genuine Thai curry taste. However if you don't have them on hand, you don't need them.

Please 'scuze me while I go play with my veggies:




I'm a little bit ashamed of how long it took me to figure out how to attach the images together like that.

Onwards!


Saute the red curry paste in the oil on med-high heat for 2 minutes.





Add the chicken breast and onion and stir fry the mixture until the chicken is cooked most of the way through. Then add the carrots and bell pepper and stir fry for another few minutes.



When chicken is cooked through, pour in the coconut milk (shake the can well prior). Stir the coconut milk through well.


Awww... its like a pretty waterfall. The pour-ey photos are just not getting old for me, folks.

4. [Optional] Add the lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar  to the mixture and stir through until they, and the curry paste, are dissolved into the sauce. Then at the last moment, add the basil and snow peas (this leaves them with all sorts of delish crunch at the end). Stir through again for about 1 minute on high heat.



5. Serve with rice, preferably on the couch, in your Ugg boots and those gross track pants you insist on wearing through the winter months.

In response to the two inevitable questions that arise from Step 5:
  • Yes, those pants are that hideous. The term "slouch fit" doesn't actually make them aaaaany more attractive.
  • Wear them with pride anyway. I said this was comfort food, not a fashion show.


6. Movie + vino shared with a loved one = optional, but highly recommended.



Thai Red Curry
Ingredients:
  • 2-4 T of Thai Red Curry Paste*
  • 400ml (1 can) Coconut Milk (light coconut milk works fine, but is less creamy)
  • 1lb (around 500 grams) of boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into strips
  • 1 tsp oil - vegetable or sesame  
  • 1 large or 2 small red onions
  • 2 carrots, sliced 
  • 2 red bell peppers (capsicums)
  • 6 oz (about 200 grams) snow peas
Optional:
  • 1 Tsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tsp lime juice
  • 1 Tsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup of fresh basil, roughly chopped
1. Saute the red curry paste in the oil on med-high heat for 2 minutes.
2. Add the chicken breast and onion and stir fry the mixture until the chicken is cooked most of the way through. Then add the carrots and bell pepper and stir fry for another few minutes.
3. When chicken is cooked through, pour in the coconut milk (shake the can well prior!) Stir the coconut milk through well.
4. Add the lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar to the mixture and stir through well until they and the curry paste are absorbed into the coconut milk.
5. At the last moment, add the snow peas and stir through on high heat for about 1 minute.

* Authentic Thai curry paste is usually very spicy, so you might want to saute 2 tablespoons of the paste and then add more with the milk if it does not taste quite strong enough. Western versions, such as Thai Kitchen, are far less spicy, so you can easily add about 3-4 tablespoons without it being too hot.

5 comments:

  1. I've never tried curry before! I'm a little scared. Growing up in rural Illinois and having a mother with very bland taste does not introduce one to many spices or flavorful foods! Unless those flavors are cheese, ranch, and lard :/

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  2. @Tangy
    Aww Tangy, as YBS would say, "Dont be skerrred"! First off, there aint nothing wrong with a bit of cheese and lard!! Second, curry was intimidating for me at first too! However, Thai curries are really very mild, and the hardest bit - the curry paste - is already made for you! If you can't find curry paste and coconut milk, you can even get a pre-made sauce instead. Let me know if you give it a go!

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  3. will road-test this recipe a.s.a.p and inform the reading/eating public of the results. Thanks Counsellor x

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  4. Am cooking this tonite at Cherry Lane north (Brisbane), will let you know how it goes

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  5. It was just great! No small art of it is cooking while having the laptop open nearby so I can see what I should be doing while reading the instructions! Only had a couple of modifications: made brown rice to go with it and as my local supermarket had run out of chicken breasts I bought a roast chicken and put the chicken strips later as they didn't need as much cooking. Having done that I did let the curry sit a little longer to be sure the flavours went into the chicken.

    And now I have the material for a chicken salad and will also use the remains for chicken and vegetable soup!

    The curry was just beautiful. Thanks for the recipe.

    What's next?

    ReplyDelete

Happy to hear your thoughts and answer any questions!