Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chicken Thai Red Curry

Chicken Thai Red Curry
Home Cooking

It might seem like I'm on a bit of a Thai food phase but the truth is, I've been planning to make this dish for a long time now. I was going to do it with fish (based on the recipe I have that inspired me to try home-made curry) but changed my mind and went for chicken.

I find that curry, particularly Indian curry is almost intimidating to make if you don't have a complete selection of spices and herbs at your disposal. I suppose this curry is sort of half-way there in terms of how much it is your OWN curry. It's true that you do use a pre-bought red curry paste but it's far from warming up supermarket curry sauce and mixing it with rice. At least, that's what I like to tell myself! Once I bought a supermarket brand Rogan Josh sauce and had unrealistically high hopes... it was pretty abysmal and since then, I've been getting my fix for Indian curry from restaurants.

This chicken curry came turned out pretty damn good. Remembering that I just had Thai food at a supposedly 'top' restaurant, I'm inclined to think mine is much better. I can't vouch for authenticity but taste-wise and texture-wise, it's more to my own preference.

That's the good thing about these half-way preparations. You don't have the hassle of buying all these spices and things to start up a curry flavor from scratch but you have enough freedom to customize the dish to your liking.

Chicken Thai Red Curry
Serves 2-3 (with rice)

  • 400g chicken in bite-sized pieces (I used 1/2 a small chicken cut up on the bone)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil,
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 knob ginger (about 1 cm long), grated
  • 1 sml red chili, sliced [optional]
  • 2 tbsp ready-made Thai red curry paste
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 1 capsicum, seeds removed and chopped
  • 2 sml potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
  • For marinade: 2 tbsp ready-made Thai red curry paste, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp fish sauce

1. Make the marinade by mixing up the ingredients together in a bowl. Add the chicken pieces and coat completely. Cover with cling-wrap and refrigerate for 2-4 hrs.
2. Once the chicken is fully marinated, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large wok. Seal the chicken in the oil by tossing it in high heat for 2min (make sure all surfaces are sealed). Transfer the chicken to a bowl and set aside.
3. Add remaining oil to wok and add the garlic, shallots, ginger and chilli. Stir and let the flavors infuse into the oil (cook for a few min).
4. Add the curry paste and cook for a few seconds. Lower the heat and add the palm sugar, fish sauce, salt and 1/2 the coconut milk.5. Now, add the potatoes and capsicum and pop on the lid. Let the veggies simmer in the curry for about 10min.
6. Return the chicken to the wok, stir to combine everything evenly and cover for another 10-15min.7. Check to see that chicken is cooked (chopstick should be able to poke through the meat) and that potatoes are tender. If everything's good, add more coconut milk until the consistency is to your liking. Adjust the taste with seasoning, sugar or more curry paste if required. Simmer for another 2min or so for the sauce to thicken slightly.
8. Serve immediately with rice.
Like I already said, this curry turned out beautifully. I made a bit too much (it's hard to know just how huge your serving is when it's in the wok) but we had no problems polishing off every last bit. The curry perfectly compliments rice and the flavors are just wonderful. I like potatoes with curry but you can feel free to use whatever vegetables you like - just keep in mind that they have different cooking times.

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