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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thai Style Curry

Despite the fact that I have never been a big fan of curry dishes, I am, in fact, a huge fan of this particular dish. It's got some heat, but isn't overwhelming. It's got a lot of flavors that all complement each other, and I love the combination of peas and cauliflower.

I adapted this dish from a Cook's Illustrated recipe. There's was a vegetarian dish, which is quite tasty. When I want a one pot meal, however, I usually like a little meat in there to give it more substance. While I enjoy eating vegetarian meals, I often find I'm back in the kitchen within a few hours looking for some more grub.

This dish is pretty straight forward to make. If you prepare all of your ingredients first, you can be done lickety split. If you really want to make this a quick fix dish, lightly pre-steam the cauliflower in a Ziplock steamer bag before adding to the dish. The most time consuming part of making this dish is waiting for the cauliflower to cook.

In the picture above, I used green curry paste. I've made this recipe with both the green and the red curry. I don't personally discern a difference in the flavor, but there is a difference in the appearance. Using red curry paste gives the sauce a pink hue. For aesthetic reasons only, I prefer using the green curry as it helps to preserve the stark contrast of white and green in this dish, which I find very appealing. Served over rice, this dish is heaven in a bowl.

Thai Style Curry
Yield: 4 servings
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated

4 TBS fish sauce
1 tsp lime zest
4 tsp fresh squeezed lime juice
1 TBS brown sugar
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tsp garlic, grated with a Microplane
1 TBS ginger, grated with a Microplane
1 TBS Thai-style red or green curry paste
2 cups (or one can) coconut milk

1 TBS vegetable oil
12 oz diced chicken breast
1 10-oz package of steamable snow or sugar snap peas
1 head cauliflower cut into bit sized florets (about 4 cups)

steamed rice, for serving

Mix together the first eight ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside. Steam the peas in the microwave. To speed the cooking process, you may also lightly steam the cauliflower in a Ziplock steamer bag. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and let it heat until it shimmers. Add the chicken so that it is as spread out as possible. Cook, turning as needed, to brown all sides. Reduce heat, if necessary. Add the cauliflower and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the sauce, stir to mix, and cover, cooking until the cauliflower reaches your preferred level of doneness (anywhere from a few minutes to 15, depending on your tastes). Add the steamed peas at the last minute, stirring to distribute. Serve over white rice.

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