Thursday, May 20, 2010

the Red Curry Challenge

Today I found this amazing recipe on The Tasty Kitchen and immediately brought it home to make. However I ran into a problem that poses a question I must work around somewhat frequently: How do you cook ethnic cuisines when living in an area without adequate supplies

I intended to try the recipe exactly as it was printed, but neither grocery store in the area carried sweet Thai chili sauce (okay, this is understandable) or flat rice noodles. Seriously? My pathetic Italian heart was broken. 

Rather than giving up, I asked the omniscient Internet for assistance. By using a couple recipes for food and method replacement inspiration, I was able to come up with the delicious Red Curry you see before you. 

Don't mind all the julienning - it just refers to long, skinny pieces so the vegetables cook fairly quickly and carry the flavorful sauce on them. Enjoy!

Ingredients (serves 5)
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 hearty Tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 large chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 onion, julienned
  • 1 red pepper, julienned
  • about 1 1/2 cups carrots, julienned (I used baby carrots)
  • 1/2 cabbage, julienned (I used a Savoy cabbage)
  • salt and pepper
  • rice (2 1/2 cups dry rice would be enough to match the amount of veggies)
  1. Cook rice according to package directions.
  2. Heat a large pan to medium-low heat. 
  3. Scoop the solid coconut milk out of the can and add to pan.
  4. Add in red curry paste and freshly grated ginger. Stir well.
  5. Add chicken. Cover and cook until chicken is done.
  6. Add onion, red pepper, and carrot. Cover again and cook until red pepper has lost a bit of its crunch (5 minutes or so).
  7. Add cabbage, stir well, and cook uncovered for another 3-5 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat and transfer to a big serving bowl if you have one. Let sit for about 5 minutes, giving it time to thicken.
  9. Serve on rice, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
The process was much easier than I thought, and the final product was very good although I might try adding a little more curry paste next time as I enjoy spicier things. I enjoyed the creaminess of the coconut milk that carried throughout the dish and the fact that the cabbage was just a little crunchy. Next time I might add a little salt at the beginning when adding the curry paste - it would be easier to taste if it's enough, although my guests were happy to salt their own dishes.

This dish could easily be made vegetarian by replacing the chicken with tofu or another vegetable protein. It is naturally dairy-free and gluten-free (red curry paste is gluten-free).

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