Up until about a year ago I was convinced that one of my favorite Thai dishes would be relegated to the confines of restaurant dining and take-out. My understanding of the cuisine was minimal and the ingredients were just too numerous, but then I made an invaluable discovery.
Curry paste’s long shelf life and semi-homemade appeal make it ideal for home cooks that like to dabble in Asian cuisine without a full pantry overhaul. Found in most Asian markets, it comes in re-sealable plastic tubs or cans. For some reason the cans gross me out. The quality seems lesser and storing leftovers is a huge hassle. Buy the tub and you can use a tablespoon here and there with very little effort.
I love impressing guests with this curry recipe. Chopping veggies and slicing chicken is the most difficult part, but everyone will think you are a culinary genius when you bust it out at your average Thursday night dinner party.
Be prepared, your leftovers will definitely draw jealous glances from adjoining cubicles at the office the next day.
Thai Red Curry with Chicken
1 ½ pounds boneless chicken breast (sliced thin)
1 pound green beans (halved with ends removed)
½ pound carrots (julienned)
1 can coconut milk
2 cups chicken broth (heated)
3 large tablespoons curry paste
Combine coconut milk and broth in a large pot and bring to a slight boil.
Add green beans and cover the pot allowing it to return to a slight boil.
Add carrots and return to the slight boil adding two of the three tablespoons of curry paste to the mixture.
This is the point where you have to get out your tasting spoons. I usually end up using about three large tablespoons of curry paste and 2-3 teaspoons of honey, but this is your curry and one of the best things about making it homemade is tailoring it to your own taste. Don’t forget, you can always add but never take away so be conservative with your additions. Remember you still have to add the chicken so make the broth slightly stronger to compensate.
Once the broth is to your liking, add the chicken. Simmer with chicken fully submerged until it is cooked through (4-6 minutes).
Makes 6 helpings if rice is served on the side.
Slice the chicken while it is semi-frozen. Your cuts will be easier and cleaner.
For this recipe I use average bouillon cubes for the broth. Sorry cooking snobs, the salt content is perfect.
Both the veggies and protein can easily be substituted to suit your needs. Shrimp would be nice and firm tofu would also work. Add the tofu just before the curry paste to give it more time to absorb the flavors.