Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fragrant Chicken Curry

The flavors of this Thai dish are so lovely.  There is a perfect sweetness from the coconut and the touch of apricot jam but also a spicy finish coming from the curry paste.  Allowing the sauce to simmer for 30 minutes concentrates the flavors while blending them creates a silky, velvety smooth texture.  Served along side fragrant basmanti or jasmine rice, you have a beautiful yet simple dinner, special enough for entertaining.   The curry paste can be quite spicy.  If this is a new ingredient for you, you may wish to use a little at a time, tasting to get the right amount of heat for your pallet.  This dish was too spicy for my son as is.  Next time I will set aside a bit of sauce without the curry paste so he can enjoy it as well.  Minus the heat, this is a very, very kid friendly meal!

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Fragrant Chicken Curry
recipe from The Ultimate Thai and Asian Cookbook by Deh-Hsiung, Becky Johnson and Sallie Morris

3 tablespoons oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste (easily found in the asian aisle of your grocery store)
4 cups coconut milk (lite is fine)
2 lemon grass stalks, coarsely chopped
6 kaffir lime leaves, chopped (I omitted these because I couldn't find them at my grocer.  If you know where to get them, let me know!)
2/3 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons apricot jam
1 3-31/2 lb cooked chicken (a prepared rotisserie chicken works great here, I just boiled my chicken so I could have chicken broth for later in the week)
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
kaffir lime leaves, fresh cilantro and toasted, shredded coconut**, to garnish
cooked rice, to serve

Heat the oil in a large pan.  Add the garlic and onion and cook over low heat for 5-10 minutes until soft. Turn your heat up to medium and stir in the red curry paste.  Cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes.  Stir in the coconut milk, then add the lemon grass, lime leaves, yogurt and apricot jam.  Stir well.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cook slightly.  Transfer the sauce to a food processor or blender and process to a smooth consistency.  I used my blender on "liquify" for about 4-5 minutes to get velvety smooth.  Pour the sauce back into the pan and set aside while you prepare your chicken.

If using a whole chicken, remove the skin and slice the meat off the bones, cutting it into bite sized pieces. Add the chicken to the sauce.  Bring the sauce back up to a simmer.  Stir in the fresh cilantro and season with salt and pepper.  Garnish with extra lime leaves, shredded coconut and chopped cilantro.  Serve with rice.

**To Toast Coconut
Arrange shredded, sweetened coconut (found in the baking aisle) in a single layer of a baking sheet.  Bake, keeping a close eye, at 350 degrees for about 4-5 minutes. Coconut can go from perfectly toasted to burnt very quickly so don't walk away from the oven!  Allow to cool.  This adds a nice little crunch and the right amount of sweetness, balancing the spiciness of the curry paste.

1 comment:

  1. The leaves give it a whole different flavor profile. Find an Asian market. Most Laos or Thai markets have them. I have a bag I keep in the freezer.



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