Why leave well enough alone?: an adventure with Southeast Asian chicken curry

When you plan to bring dinner to a friend, it’s probably best to make sure that the dish you want to bring is not something s/he acknowledges as a specialty.

Fortunately, there’s more than one way to do a “chicken curry,” as I promised to my friends D & D last week. I abandoned my original Indian idea and decided to go Thai instead. And then at New Seasons, I found Kuy’s Cambodian Sauces, a locally-produced line of curry and other seasoning pastes. “Why not?” I thought to myself, and so I picked up their red curry paste instead of the standard Thai variety. Then, on second thought, I decided the original recipe (from BBC Good Food) was entirely lacking in the vegetable department, and so I added carrots and kale and a couple other things.

Here’s the end result. It was not terrible. In fact, I picked up the necessary stuff to make it again this week.

Southeast Asian Chicken Curry
2 shallots, very thinly sliced
1 stalk lemongrass, outer layer removed, tender part thinly sliced
1 Tbsp peanut or other vegetable oil
1 heaping Tbsp red curry paste
1-1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
1 Tbsp fish sauce
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp sugar (I used raw/Demarara)
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
About half a 10-ounce bag of kale (or, obv., some washed/trimmed/torn into large chunks kale)
1 11-ounce can coconut milk, well shaken
Chopped fresh basil and/or cilantro
Heat the oil in a large, shallow pan. Add shallots and lemongrass and saute over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and and shallots are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add curry paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add chicken and cook, stirring, until coated.
Add fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, carrots, and kale. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 more minutes, until kale begins to wilt. Add coconut milk. Bring JUST to a boil; reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring regularly, until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Stir in half of chopped herbs. Taste and add more curry paste and/or salt if you feel it needs it.
Serve over steamed jasmine or basmati rice in shallow bowls, garnished with additional chopped fresh herbs.
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About Molly Newman

Writer, cook and trivia/spelling bee hostess, living it up in North Portland.
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