Red Chicken Curry

I grew up in the Midwest.  So, it is surprising that the most delicious, comforting foods I always go back to when I’m feeling blue are usually . . .  well . . .  asian.  My family was not the most adventurous of eaters.  I never even tried asian food until I was 16.  In fact, at one point, my father convinced me Chinese food was made of cat.  It was a bleak time in my childhood.

Fortunately, I eventually ate Chinese food and loved it.  Since, I have been pretty enamoured with all different types of asian cuisine.  Give me saag paneer.  Feed me char siu.  I crave it.

One of my favorite dishes is red curry.  Now, let me explain myself.  Curry can mean different things to many people, depending on where you live and what you’ve eaten.  I’m talking about traditional Thai red curry.  This type of curry typically uses curry paste and coconut milk.  This type of curry is usually eaten with lots of broth as a soup-like dish with rice.  And I particularly like my own recipe.

1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 green pepper, seeded and sliced

1 small onion, sliced

2 Tbl olive oil

1 can (14.5 oz) of coconut milk

1 and 1/2 Tbl red curry paste

1/2 tsp of chili powder

2 tsp chopped garlic

1 Tbl crushed ginger

2 cups chicken broth

1 Tbls soy sauce

2 tsp of lime juice

Many of these ingredients can be swapped out for others.  I have used tofu instead of chicken.  I have used carrots instead of peppers.  This is a very verstaile recipe, as many curries are.  I would say stick with the basic broth ingredients, as they are what really make this recipe a curry, and make the flavor pop.  But feel free to toy around with what you add to the curry sauce.  I also like my curry with a little kick.  If you don’t like your curry that spicy, don’t add the chili powder.

Start by chopping the chicken into smaller pieces.  Warm the oil in a frying pan.  Salt and pepper the chicken generously.  Begin to cook chicken in 1 Tbl of oil.  When the chicken peices are white on the outside, but still pink inside and not fully cooked, add the chopped vegetables and garlic.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Cook all ingredients until nearly done.  This means, onions should begin to become transluscent, chicken should be just white all the way through.  It is important NOT to overcook any of the chicken or vegetables.  They will cook some more in the broth.  If you cook them all the way through, the chicken will become tough and vegetables will be soggy when added to the broth.

Remove chicken and vegetables from the pan and transfer to another dish.  In the SAME pan, warm additional tablespoon of oil on medium-low heat.  Add ginger, chili powder, and red curry paste.  Warm until fragrant.  Stir in broth slowly, until curry past mixture is fully incorporated.  Add coconut milk.  Keep heat low.  Do not boil.

Finally, add chicken and vegetables to broth.  Add soy sauce and lime juice to taste.  Let cook on low together for at least 15 minutes.  Serve over rice.  If you have fresh basil, chopp and garnish.

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