Have you ever felt like you've found a food that you feel truly represents you? I feel like I've found my spirit food (is that a thing?) in this Thai Coconut Red Curry. This curry is deep, and rich and complex (much like me) and it has the perfect balance of sweetness, heat and complex flavors without actually being overly complex. Again, much like me. I give the illusion of being extremely complex, when in reality, I'm pretty simple. Give me a bag of dark chocolate covered almonds with sea salt, plop me down with a fuzzy blanket and Netflix and you won't hear from me for hours. It's like the equivalent to giving my son a bowl of oranges and turning on Team Umizoomi. Only he'll only be there for 15 minutes. But, I've learned that if I serve them to him with the peel on, it gives me just enough time to do a load of dishes, fold some laundry or, in reality, check Facebook and add a few pins to my food boards. Because, let's face it... when I'm given a break, that break is very rarely used to do something that actually requires movement.
Okay, so, back to the curry... I've been making Thai curry for a few years now and I've made little tweaks here and there, but overall I felt really confident with my recipe. That is, until I was turned on to a little tip that has forever changed my curry. One day when I was checking out at the grocery store with my coconut milk and my other curry ingredients, the lady at the register asked me if I had ever tried using coconut cream instead of the coconut milk in my curry. She insisted that it would change my life and even walked all the way to the back of the store to exchange my coconut milk for the coconut cream. She was right. So right! It makes all the difference. There's no going back for me now and the next time I see her, I might just hug her. Or just tell her how right she was, if she's not a hugger. I guess I'm not really a hugger, either. So, to spare us both the awkwardness, I'll just thank her.
This week, I'm giving you a fun little challenge. Are you up to it? It doesn't require too much thought, I promise. And you won't even have to stand up or move at all...
Find your spirit food and let me know what it is below!
See, it's super easy! And maybe even fun. Think about it and get back to me ;) But until then, enjoy my spirit food...
Thai Coconut Red Curry:
- 1 whole chicken (about 3 pounds)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Salt & pepper
- 1 (4 oz) jar Thai Red Curry Paste
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into 1/4" thick strips
- 3/4 cup fresh or frozen green beans
- 2 (19 oz) cans coconut cream (not coconut milk!)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup Thai basil, chiffonade (for garnish)
- Cooked Jasmine rice
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Prepare chicken for roasting by rinsing it, cleaning cavity and patting it dry. Place on baking sheet or roasting pan and rub with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, turn down oven to 400 degrees and continue to roast for an additional 35-40 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, Remove and allow chicken to cool slightly.
Once chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat and chop into 1" chunks (or at least as close to that as you can get. Doesn't have to be perfect!)
In a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat, place remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil along with the curry paste. Cook paste for about 2 minutes, stirring every 15 seconds or so. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Pour in coconut cream, add in brown sugar, ginger and cayenne and mix well. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow mixture to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Crank the heat back up to medium and add in green beans and bell peppers. Cook until al dente, about 6-8 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in lime juice.
Serve curry with a side of steamed jasmine rice (we like to put a nice big scoop on the top!) and topped with fresh Thai basil.