Thursday, March 31, 2011

Double Take: Red Thai Chicken Curry

Anyone out there remember the secret to the awesome bbq in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes? They said, "the secret's in the sauce." This sauce is in no way containing the same "secret ingredient" that the gals used in Fried Green Tomatoes. However, the statement is still true for it. Today's recipe is a fun way to dress up chicken with a flair of Thai style curry. The bonus? You don't have to make the curry paste but you can select a curry paste that suits your family.

Most groceries now have an asian section stocked with a mix of what can be mysterious looking curry pastes.

Curry Paste Comparison by Brand
Thai Kitchen tends to be completely mild.
Patak's has a little heat but is fine for those who like mild sauce at Taco Bell.
Deep Food's brand tends to be similar to Patak's in spice but can leave your kitchen with more residual smell.
Maesri tends to be notably hotter than Patak's and Deep Food's. If you use a whole can for 4 servings, be prepared for some heat.

For any of these, if you want more heat, add chili flakes or chili garlic sauce (aka ugly rooster sauce). This is not the same as Tabasco with garlic. It tends to have a rooster on the front but any Asian chili garlic sauce will work.

Also, you have the option of making your own. Pioneer Woman makes her own. In fact, her recipe is adapted for today's post. Its a great, quick weeknight dinner. It can easily be adapted for anyone's tastes by adjusting vegetables and spice level. The leftovers reheat well too.

Red Thai Chicken Curry (inspired by Pioneer Woman's Red Thai Duck Curry)

Prep time:10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes

Servings: 4


4 boneless chicken thighs
2 Tbsp olive oil, I prefer Greek
3 cloves minced garlic, minced
6 Tbsp Red Thai Curry Paste (feel free to substitute your favorite or a mixture of your favorite curry pastes)
1 can coconut milk
1/2 c. hot water (or the pineapple juice remaining in the can)
4 Tbsp fish sauce
3 Tbsp minced ginger
1/2 whole onion, sliced
1 whole red pepper, sliced
1 c. grape tomatoes
1 can of pineapple rings or 1/2 whole pineapple
2 Tbsp dried basil, crushed
1/2 c. sugar snap peas
2 c. cooked rice (basmati, jasmine, whatever you prefer)

How To:

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a pan. Cook the outside of the chicken thighs for about 45 s per side just to get a little color but not to cook through the chicken. Pull the chicken out and let cool. Slice into cubes when cool.

While you wait on the chicken to cool, add the minced garlic to the pan with the hot oil. Next add the curry paste and stir it for 3 - 5 minutes until the aroma builds. Then add the coconut milk, water/pineapple juice, fish sauce, and ginger. Cook over low heat for about 10-12 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients. If you get done with the other ingredients in less than this time, go ahead and toss them in the pan.

In a separate pan, add the other Tbsp of olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add the onions and bell pepper and cook 2 -3 minutes (until the onions have a light brown color on their edges). Add the chunks of chicken to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Now is a good time to cook your rice if you forgot and meant to put it on but never quite got to it. If you cook it in the microwave it only takes about 15 minutes if you cover it.

Add pineapple and cherry tomatoes. Stir and cook 2 minutes.

Taste the curry paste and add more paste or spice if desired.

Add the vegetables and chicken to the paste. Stir to combine and cook another 15 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Serve over rice.


Becky and I were a little bummed that Thai kitchen curry paste didn't pack a big punch. In the future, I'd go with yellow or panang curry paste from Maesri, biryani mixed with mild curry from patak or deep foods. I realize though that this might be the perfect paste for those which aren't fans of heat. If this is you, Thai Kitchen is for you. That being said, the rest of the flavor was great. I especially enjoyed the combination of pineapple with peppers and onions and sugar snap peas. Yum.

Pop over to Mel's to see what she thought of this dish.

What's your favorite curry paste?

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