Thai Coconut Chicken Curry

Prep Time: 5 minutes               Cook Time: 20 minutes             Servings: 2-4

Living in the Northeast has a lot of advantages, particularly for those that enjoy outdoor activities like skiing, kayaking and hiking, but the winters can be long. The ice and snow can linger well into spring, and it is not unheard of for us to get a snowstorm well into April.

It came as no surprise this Monday when, that despite temperatures that got into the low 50’s Fahrenheit over the weekend, I woke up to find a half-an-inch of snow on the ground. Unexpected (and somewhat unpleasant) atmospheric changes like that make me long for summer weather. Since that is still several weeks off, however, the next best thing is the fragrant and warming spices of a hot-climate cuisine like Thai. I’ve been lucky enough to both work and live in Thailand off and on over the past decade, and believe that Thai food is some of the best in the world. Surprisingly, despite the complex play of flavors in the finished dish, cooking Thai is actually quite simple

This recipe for coconut chicken curry is one of my favorites, with a delicious blend of creamy coconut, spicy ginger, and the heat of Thai red curry paste. That the entire dish comes together in just 20 minutes is an added bonus. It’s the perfect meal for an unexpectedly snowy and exhausting day at work when all you want to do is curl up on the couch in front of the fire.

 

Ingredients:

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2, although the organic butcher I get my meat from also has them thin sliced)

2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided

1 zucchini

1 red or yellow bell pepper

5-6 white or brown mushrooms

3 – 4 green onions

1 medium yellow onion

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (about 1” ginger root)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1-2 tablespoons red Thai curry paste (the more you add, the hotter it will be)

1 16 oz. can full-fat coconut milk

Salt and pepper, to taste

Freshly chopped cilantro and roasted cashews, for garnish

 

Instructions:

Melt 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large pot, heavy skillet or wok over medium high heat.

While the oil heats, chop the chicken into 1” pieces and seasoned liberally with salt and pepper (although I personally season the meat first, then chop, but that is a personal quick).

Sauté the chicken until golden brown and cooked thru, about 8 minutes, then transfer to a clean plate.

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Melt the other tablespoon of coconut oil large pot, heavy skillet or wok.

While the oil heats, chop the vegetables coarsely (e.g. cut the zucchini into ½” by 1” spears, de-seed and slice the bell pepper, peel and slice the onion, quarter the mushrooms, and chop the green onions into ½” pieces). You really can’t chop the vegetables wrong. You can also mix it up, using this as an opportunity to clean out your refrigerator’s crisper drawer.

Add in all the vegetables to the hot oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables start to brown slightly on the edges but are still crisp tender, about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Add the garlic and ginger to the vegetables and cook for another 30 seconds until fragrant, stirring occasionally. Then add in the Thai curry paste and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and chicken, and then stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes or until heated thru.

Serve the coconut chicken curry over cauliflower rice or rice noodles, then garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and cashews.

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