Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Quick & Dirty: Thai Green Curry

Aside from a standard stir-fry, I rarely make Asian food at home. It’s not because I don’t like it or because I’m too busy eating my mayonnaise and bologna sandwiches on Wonderbread, but because I find them a bit intimidating. I shouldn’t – my family has fully embraced Asian cooking. Growing up, our spice cabinet was overflowing with labels written in foreign characters and there was always at least one ginger root slowly rotting in the vegetable drawer. Remind me to tell you about the time I accidentally gulped fish sauce thinking it was iced tea (Or don’t. Just the thought of it is makes me want to gag.).

My Japanese sister-in-law, a great cook who's spent time trekking through Thailand, hooked me up with this recipe. It's an uncomplicated, completely non-intimidating and yet kind of authentic recipe for one of my favorite take-out meals. This only involves a handful of “weird” ingredients – ones that are all shelf-stable and available in pretty much any grocery store.  The vegetables I’ve included are not traditional, though. I love Thai and Japanese eggplant, but unfortunately they make the Peanut’s face break out. Use them if you can, but here I’ve substituted green beans and baby corn.  Adjust the curry to taste, as this is relatively mild. Also, I'm still a little gun shy when it comes to fish sauce . . .

I decided to use this to kick off a new "Quick & Dirty" category. The topic of speedy weeknight meals pops up in conversation so frequently with my friends and family that  I wanted a way to collect and share my own. These will all be simple but relatively nutritious meals that come together in about 20 minutes. Hope it comes in handy! If not, there's always mayonnaise and bologna.

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Thai Green Curry Chicken
Serves 4

  • 1 tbs Thai green curry paste*
  • 1 14 oz can of coconut milk*
  • 1 lbs boneless, skinless chicken (thighs or breast), very thinly sliced
  • 1 c. sliced bamboo shoots*
  • 1 can baby corn*
  • 2 c. frozen green beans
  • 1/3 c. chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce*
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves
  1.  Heat large skillet over medium high heat. Dissolve curry paste in one cup of coconut milk. Add remaining milk and bring to simmer. Stir in chicken and simmer until cooked through, 5-10 minutes. 
  2. Add vegetables, fish sauce and sugar and chicken broth. Simmer for ten more minutes, until bamboos shoots taste like the sauce and not styrofoam.
  3. Add basil leaves and stir until wilted. Season to taste with salt, more sugar or fish sauce as desired. Serve over jasmine rice**
*Available in the Asian aisle of most grocery stores.
**To make this extra quick and dirty, I use Trader Joe's frozen jasmine rice.

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