Monday, March 10, 2014

Clean-Out Chicken Curry

After over 30 years of cooking almost daily for 2-5 people, I should have this under control by now. But I am still wondering what to cook for dinner nearly every day.

I use various Thai chili pastes quite often, along with coconut cream and other Asian spices. One of our oft-repeated meals is a Thai chicken curry, made with whatever is in the refrigerator. They are almost always delicious, and never repeated. What makes this work is that I always have boneless chicken breasts in the freezer, pre-cut and packaged in freezer zip bags. Here is what we had tonight.

Clean-Out Thai Curry

(amounts are approximate...)

1 lb boneless chicken breast, cubed
half large onion, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 carrots, shredded
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large stalk kale, massaged and chopped
handful of fresh peas
1 zucchini, sliced
**Trader Joe's Thai Dry Chili Paste, about 2 tablespoons
olive or coconut oil
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup coconut cream (I use Trader Joe's, in the brown can)

Saute the chicken breast and Thai chili paste in hot olive or coconut oil in a large dutch oven or wok. While it is cooking, prepare vegetables. (Quantity depends on what's in the house....) When chicken is about half-cooked, remove to a bowl, add a bit more oil and heat. Add onion, celery, pepper, carrot, and kale, and saute over fairly high heat, stirring frequently. When softened, add pre-cooked chicken, peas and zucchini and mix well. Add chicken stock and coconut cream, mix and let cook until veggies are desired doneness. I usually pop the wok lid on for a few minutes.

Serve in bowls, or if you eat grains, over brown rice.

This can be turned into a delicious soup by adding more chicken stock and coconut cream. Fresh garlic is a great addition of course, but I forgot tonight. Lemongrass or sliced fresh basil is also good. I always use onion, usually have celery and carrot as well. Green beans or asparagus would be delicious.

**I like Mae Ploy chili pastes, but they are pretty spicy for most tastes. (It doesn't take much.) The Thai Kitchen brand is available widely and is good too and milder. This TJ's dry paste is very different, with a bit of a kick but certainly tolerable for everyone. I suggest you taste a bit before adding it to the pot, or start small (1 tbsp) and add more if desired. The Mae Ploy pastes can "put hair on your chest" as my father used to tell me.

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