Thai Curry from American Ingredients

2015-09-06 17.26.09RECIPE #60, DAY #70

ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Classic Curry Chicken (with Potatoes)” from Darlene Schmidt on allrecipes.com*

TIMING: 45 minutes

DIFFICULTY: Easy

TOOLS: A wok with a lid

COOK TYPE: Stovetop. Sauteeing and simmering

HEALTH: Curry is pretty good for you, actually. Of course, it only makes sense to pair it with some steamed, white Jasmine rice, but that’s not all bad news. Lean meat, veggies, healthful spices…

EXPERIENCE: I have been on the hunt for the perfect restaurant-true Thai curry for years. Now, I can make a Thai curry that my family, and even I, am pleased with and gobble down. But there always seems to be something missing when you make it at home. Something in the sweet-umami range, I believe.

Of course, I shouldn’t have expected this recipe to fill that hole, even though that is precisely why I tried it. That, and I was really curious to see how she got to such high ratings making a Thai curry with all American ingredients.

In the end, it pleased my family and–I have to admit–me. But it was still not quite there.

NOTES: I made one major change here: I substituted a Thai curry paste for the curry powder. I made it with the curry powder, as suggested, and it just didn’t work right. Thai curry paste is widely available in the ethnic aisle of most grocery stores, and I always stock it in my fridge.

If you want to use tofu for your curry, you can buy the fried pieces at an Asian grocer or you can approximate by making golden tofu. To make golden tofu, add diced tofu to a hot, non-stick pan or wok. When moisture has almost completely evaporated, add a hefty drizzle of oil and stir-fry tofu until, well, golden. Set aside and sprinkle with salt.

As you can tell from the photo, I used the golden tofu and I also topped with avocado, which I think goes with almost anything, even Thai curries. Also, I used bell pepper instead of potato because my husband just can’t have Thai curry without bell pepper. Bamboo shoots would also work.

***

  1. Place your wok over medium-high heat. Dry-fry 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste with 1 bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake, and 1 small stick cinnamon. Fry until aromatic.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons safflower oil, 5 cloves pressed garlic, 1 tablespoon minced ginger, and 2 minced shallots. Fry 1 minute.
  3. Add 1 pound thin-sliced chicken, pork, or beef and 2 peeled and chopped potatoes. Saute 1 minute.
  4. Add 1/2 cup chicken or beef stock, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1 can coconut milk, 2 tablespoons fish sauce (or soy sauce, in a pinch), and 2 tablespoons brown (or raw palm) sugar.
  5. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  6. When potatoes are soft, remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaf, and add 1 chopped tomato, the juice of a lime, and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro. Stir. Taste for salt, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, lime juice, and fish sauce.

***

Serve with steamed Jasmine rice and plain yogurt.

*Recipe changed from the original.

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