Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Are you craving coconut curry?

For months, Aaron has been craving coconut curry... and the two Thai restaurants in town (that we know of) are difficult to order from. One is only open during lunch, the other is only open for dinner. Both are extremely busy and you spend more time waiting for your food than you do eating it. But it is sooooo gooooood.... Unfortunately, luck hasn't granted us the opportunity to eat at either restaurant for a while... and the craving was there...

I scoured the internet for a good coconut curry recipe that was easy. I found one by Rachel Ray (or at least I think it was Rachel's recipe, as it was in her magazine, but it could have easily been created by one of her minions, I mean, staff). It's funny that I never noticed this recipe before, as I LOVE her magazine and I have several back issues on my Kindle Fire... But, nevertheless, I found the recipe online and promised Aaron I would try it.

I first made it about a week ago, following the recipe to the T... The only difference was that I cut the chicken into large pieces instead of smaller strips... I also cooked some Uncle Ben's Boil in the Bag rice as I had it on my shelf and it is super easy to make. Some notes after my first meal: Definitely cut the chicken into strips or smaller chicken pieces - it makes a difference on the sauce-chicken ratio... Large chicken pieces will give you a lot more sauce than you may want. The curry is on the mild side - at least when I used the powdered curry that I have in my spice cabinet. Using curry paste may produce other results. Also, the Uncle Ben's rice is good in a pinch, but is missing something... It may have been that I had WAY too much sauce on my hands and my rice was swimming in it, I don't know... It was good, but it didn't bowl me over.

I wanted to try the curry again tonight, mainly because I had ingredients to make it in my pantry, and mainly because it is really easy. I did make some alterations to the recipe. Here is my version:

Make JASMINE RICE in a rice cooker... flavor-wise, it goes phenomenally well with the curry. The rice cooker makes it easy so you can focus on other tasks. If you must, you can make it on the stove, but you'll probably have to baby-sit it a bit more than you would otherwise. I started the rice first and it was done by the time I was done with the chicken.

Make the curry sauce -
Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a sauce pan and add 2 tsp. of curry powder. Stir with a whisk to combine well and let it cook for about a minute. Add 1 can of coconut milk (I used Thai Kitchen brand) and stir to combine well. Let the sauce cook down to about half. After you add the coconut milk, add another 1/2 tsp of curry powder. I originally wanted to add extra curry to this but I forgot about it when I started cooking it... I didn't remember to add it until after I added the coconut... It gave it a slightly different texture that was really good and added a bit more spice to the dish. You can add it in the beginning with the rest of the curry powder to let the oil develop the flavor a bit better, but that is up to you... This is just how I did it.

While the curry sauce it cooking down, cut up 4 chicken breasts into strips - I cut the breast at an angle and kept about 1/2 in thickness. Then I cut each larger piece in half lengthwise to make strips. Add the chicken to a bowl and season with salt, pepper, and 2 tsp Chinese Five-Spice. Mix by hand to distribute the seasonings evenly. Heat up 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a wok and stir-fry the chicken until just cooked through. You may have to do this in batches depending on how much chicken you have and how large your wok is.

If you do cook the chicken in batches, return all batches back to the wok for the final stir-fry. Add the coconut sauce and let it cook down a little more. Stir to completely cover the chicken.

Chicken Curry Goodness
Yummy close-up of the chicken-y goodness! The stuff that looks like awesome char is really the 5-spice on the chicken.
One thing that I was missing from my first attempt at this dish was a green vegetable. Now, it is not really required that a green vegetable be served with this dish, but I like to have something green with my meals whenever possible. So, this time, I grabbed a bag of broccoli that you can microwave and it steams in the bag. Serve the curry over the jasmine rice and add a nice healthy dose of broccoli and you have a tasty and healthy dinner!


  1. See that's just beautiful! We will have to try this one this weekend. What do you think of adding Thai Chili to it? I like HOT curry and have a plethora of thai chilis around. :-)

  2. Be adventurous! You should add the Thai Chili to the oil/curry mix BEFORE you add the coconut milk, to make sure to develop its flavor well.

    This recipe is SUPER easy, with the most difficult part being cutting up the chicken... seriously

    And leftovers are AWESOME! The rice melds with the curry sauce and takes on all its coconutty curry goodness!

    I was hesitant to use the 5-spice on the chicken, but it is seriously good. I do not recommend changing this spice to anything else. It goes really well with the coconut curry.

    1. NO way! Chinese 5 spice is a kitchen staple for us!!! We LOVE it. :) I just like extra heat.

      Now to find jasmine rice! I'm thinking some sesame oil sauteed fresh veggie stirfry for the veggie. :-)

    2. You go girl! I could add veggies to the wok when I'm stir-frying the chicken, but Aaron prefers his curry to be meat & gravy... no veg.

    3. I would totally do the veggies seperate. Jeff hates squash. Hahahaha. And now I'm gonna need a damn wok!