Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Perfectly Balanced Chicken Red Curry

Let me preface this post by saying how much I've missed blogging, how much I've missed taking photos of food, and definitely missed getting to really study my recipes after creating them. It's been such a good process for me to becoming a better cook.

All that to say, the reason I haven't been around much is that I just got a wonderful new job and no time for blogging! We've been eating delicious still, and enjoying some lovely local restaurants too. Billy has taken over a lot of the cooking, and he is amazing! It's been a lot of fun to see his take on food and cooking, and have the privilege of coming home to an already made meal.

This meal is one of those. An amazing meal that Billy cooked up with a lot of research that he put into it, even before starting. It couldn't go unnoticed. It was definitely begging for a blog post. —Rachel

There was something missing from the red curries I have tried to make in the past. There seemed to be too much salt and sour. When I compensated with sweet, then it became overdone, I could not find the right balance. There was something missing from the depth of flavor. The use of kaffir lime leaves, as opposed to the rural white-guy-stand-in, lime zest, was an immense step in the direction to a more authentic Thai curry. In addition, I remembered the Massaman curry at a local place in our hometown contained Star Anise. Though I couldn't place the taste, as soon as I remembered that ingredient, I knew that was the missing flavor from a well-rounded red curry. Though it may not traditionally belong in a red curry, the addition of star anise, complements the other major flavor components. —Billy

Perfectly Balanced Chicken Red Curry
(Printable Recipe)
Cook's Note: The onion and garlic were sliced as thin as possible to create more surface area. This allows them to melt into the sauce. Easily converted to a vegetarian palate— Use tofu and replace fish sauce with soy sauce to taste.
Yield: 4 large servings. Total Cook Time: 1 hr.

Ingredients:
1, 14 oz can coconut milk, divided
3 tbsp red curry paste, divided (This was pretty spicy, so if you're sensitive to spice, use half of the amount. The brand we use is Mae Ploy, found at the Asian Market)
2 chicken breast, thinly sliced against the grain
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp brown sugar (Or more to taste)
1 tsp soy sauce (Or to taste. We use Gluten-Free, low-sodium Tamari)
1/2 tsp fish sauce (Or to taste)
1 small onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
8 kaffir lime leaves, chiffonade, divided (Purchased fresh at our local Asian market)
1 red bell pepper, julienned
2 carrots, sliced on the bias
2 small russet potatoes, cubed
3 star anise

2 sprigs of fresh basil, for garnish
Long grained or Jasmine Rice, for serving

How To:
First off, you are going to want the fat of the coconut milk, as it tends to separate, so do not shake the can. Heat a wok over medium-high heat, then pour in the creamy top part of the coconut milk (about 1/6-1/4 of the can). Once it's at a gentle simmer, add 2 tablespoons curry paste. Sauté your curry paste, do not fry it. Stir continuously until coconut milk and curry paste have incorporated and reduced into a thick brownish sauce.

Add chicken, turning occasionally until the surface is cooked, about 6 minutes.

Add the remainder of the coconut milk, remainder of the curry paste, chicken broth, brown sugar, soy sauce and fish sauce. Add in onions, garlic, and four kaffir lime leaves. Let simmer 1-2 minutes. Add in the rest of the vegetables, and star anise. Let simmer 10-20 minutes. The longer you allow it to simmer the better the curry will come together.

Serve over long grained, or Jasmine rice. Garnish with the rest of the kaffir lime leaves and basil.

Enjoy.

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