Last weekend Do and I undertook the pruning of our recipe clippings collection. Our stash was pretty typical: ~50 recipes at any one time waiting to be tested, sorted into self explanatory categories like "veggies" or "chicken" or "deserts." It had simply become unwieldy and uninspiring, with clippings for recipes that may have been inspiring two years ago but no longer. So we culled and reorganized... and in the process re-discovered some very exciting dishes, like the 30min Thai curry pictured at right.
If I remember correctly, this recipe was part of an article on weeknight chef-worthy meals, published in the May 2007 issue of Food & Wine (when we were still in college -eep!). The 30minutes is overly optimistic, unless you either a) buy chicken that is very quick to prep (i.e. boneless or pre-cubed), b) recruit your favorite kitchen buddy to help, or c) all of the above. Do thinks that the sauce could stand to be reduced a little further to be a little thicker, but that's a common criticism of his. He's really happiest when everything is stew-like.
And those are really our only criticisms. It's a fast but solidly-flavored south-east Asian curry, using only commonly-available ingredients. As in, you don't have to have access to Bay-area grocery stores or be feeling particularly adventurous to enjoy this -- m... (Do quietly covers Neens mouth before she says something unforgivable). Vegetarians should have no problem substituting a firm tofu for chicken. Oh, and as we discovered, this is one of those dishes that does just fine with less-than-stellar chicken (ours had been cheap to start with and then languished unloved in the freezer for, er, a long time. Tasted great in this recipe). Definitely moving this clipping to the permanent collection.
Spicy Red Curry Chicken (Food & Wine May 2007 issue).
2/3 c unsweetened coconut milk (~half a can)
2 -3 tsp Thai red curry paste (Do: Korean Red Pepper paste is a fine substitute. Siracha Chili paste is not flavorful enough, use it just to add extra spice.)
1 Tbs Asian Fish sauce
3 Tbs vegetable oil, separated
1 1/2 lb skinless boneless chicken thighs and/or breasts, cut into 1/2" strips or 1 1/2" chunks
1/2 lb shitake mushrooms, quartered
1 Tbs grated ginger
2 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1/2 cup water
1 cup frozen baby peas
For serving (all optional): rice, peanuts, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges
Do the prep: cut up chicken, clean and chop mushrooms. Start making rice, if you plan to serve the curry over rice.
Shake the can of coconut milk before opening. In a small bowl, whisk the 2/3 cup of coconut milk with the red curry paste and the fish sauce until combined. Set aside.
Heat a large wok or skillet until very hot. Add 2 Tbs vegetable oil and heat until just smoking. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and add it to the wok in a single layer. Cook over high heat, turning once, until the chicken is browned but not cooked through (~4-5min). Transfer the chicken to a plate and pour off the fat in the wok.
Add the remaining 1 Tbs vegetable oil to the wok. Add shitake caps and stir fry ovr high heat until lightly browned (~5 min). Add ginger and garlic, and saute for 1 min. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the wok. Add the red curry mixture and the 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Add the frozen peas and simmer until the liquid is slightly reduced and the peas are warm (~2-3min).
To serve: transfer the chicken curry to a serving bowl and garnish with peanuts and cilantro. Serve immediately with rice and lime wedges.
And I couldn't resist: when we were putting together our menus for this upcoming week, the more mischievous of our two cats, Harissa, somehow wedged himself into the empty spot in our cookbook bookshelf. Yeah Reesie, you almost look like Julia Child. Keep working on it.