RED CURRY IN A HURRY


Juicy chicken simmered in a warm, coconut red curry sauce provides filling flavor in one healthy bowl. The fresh and fragrant basil leaves brighten up this take on the popular take-out dish. And it’s a one-pot wonder, making for easy clean-up.

Allergens and substitutions: To avoid soy, replace the the tamari with sea salt. To avoid cashews replace with almonds or omit.

 

HEALING BENEFITS

Chicken has high levels of vitamin B along with being a high source of protein, the building block of muscles. Only buy chicken (and all other poultry) that is raised without antibiotics to get truly healthy meat. Read the ingredients on the sausages. Food manufacturers can hide some horrible ingredients in tube meat. If you cannot pronounce it or recognize the ingredient, it’s best to not eat it. Honorable mention goes to Applegate Organics meats for producing real food available widely in the US. It’s not cheap, but real food raised properly seldom is.

 

Broth made from the bones of animals raised on a healthy diet provides deep rich flavor to recipes and countless nutritional benefits. Simmering the bones over low heat for hours brings out high amounts of rich collagen, providing for stronger bones, full-bodied hair and superior skin health. Store bought broth is much lower in nutrients compared to homemade broth. Save all your animal bones from past meals in your freezer and make a batch of bone broth every few weeks. Your body will thank you for it. Here’s our recipe for browned bone broth.

 

Cashews are a great source of healthy fats, specifically monounsaturated fatty acids. This nut is high in oleic acid, which is also found in olive oil, avocados and olives. As with most nuts, they are calorie dense, so be careful not to over indulge.

 

PUTTING IT ALTOGETHER

Follow the instructions below to make this flavorful curry. Bone-in or boneless chicken can be used for this recipe. The bone-in chicken thighs take longer to cook than boneless. Since this one-pot dish needs some time on the stove, you are not at risk for eating raw chicken. We prefer the bone-in for this recipe, since that bone adds flavor and keeps the chicken from drying out. And let’s be honest, no one likes dry chicken. The bone-in chicken thighs are also the most affordable healthy meat you can buy. Ours came with the skin on, so I removed it and saved it for making bone broth. If you’re trying to cut the calories on this meal, consider using chicken breasts (with or without the bone).

Removing Chicken SkinTime Shortcuts: You can use frozen sliced onions instead of slicing up a fresh one. The fresh garlic can be skipped or you can use garlic powder/paste instead. The red curry paste already has some garlic in it. Trader Joe’s does not sell bamboo shoots in a can, so you can substitute another half of a bell pepper, julienned carrots or just leave it out. Soy sauce or fish sauce can be used in place of the tamari. Fish sauce has twice the salt content of tamari, so only use 1 tbsp of fish sauce.

It’s good practice to pull out all the pots and pans you need before cooking. Likewise, pulling out the ingredients you need to measure or chop beforehand will simplify your cooking. The French call this practice mise en place which translates to “putting in place”. It is practiced in restaurants and taught to chefs in culinary school.

If you’re using homemade bone broth it will have more flavor than the store-bought variety. Always dilute your bone broth 1:1. Since it is much more concentrated, use 1/4 cup of bone broth and 1/4 cup of water in place of the 1/2 cup of store-bought broth.

The best store-bought broth at Trader Joe’s is the Organic Free Range Chicken Broth. The other selections contain some poor quality ingredients, such as dextrose, cane sugar, caramel color and yeast extract (read: MSG). Choose carefully since this food stuff can go from a healing food to a toxic one.

Premade curry paste is a great time-saver. But all curry pastes are not created equal. We prefer the fresh flavors of Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste. The ingredient list is short and simple. Most importantly, their curry paste does not have any poor quality ingredients, fillers nor shellfish. Check your other local grocers for this in the Asian aisle (~$4/jar). Thai Kitchen also makes an excellent green curry paste that can be substituted for the red in this recipe.

Unfortunately Thai Kitchen is not sold at Trader Joe’s, but is available on Amazon.  Trader Joe’s does carry a red curry paste in a jar, but it has several low quality ingredients in it (sugar, canola oil, MSG, xanthan gum, cornstarch, “natural” flavors and egg yolks). Stock up on the healthier Thai Kitchen curry pastes when you see them on sale. They are shelf stable and will keep in your pantry for months.

Use a deep skillet or large stock pot for this recipe. Bring the pan up to heat over a medium flame. Melt most, but not all, of the coconut oil, butter or ghee in the pan for a few seconds. Place the chicken thighs with the skin side (read: smoother side) down and allow to brown for about 3 minutes. If they stick to the pan, allow them to continue cooking for another minute or two. Once browned they will release from the pan instead of tearing from it. Flip over and continue browning the muscle side for another 3 minutes. These do not need to be fully cooked since they will braised in the curry sauce for about 15 minutes. In a hurry? You can skip this step and start with the next step.

Remove the chicken from the pan, if you browned it. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the bit of coconut oil left to the pan, then add the curry paste and garlic. Gently mash the curry paste around the pan for about 30 seconds to allow the flavors to bloom.

Add the entire can of coconut milk, bone/chicken broth and optional red chili flakes to the pan and bring the heat back up to medium. Mix well and scrape up the browned meat bits from the bottom of the pan. Also add the tamari or soy sauce or fish sauce.
Red Curry iv

Add the chicken, peppers, bamboo shoots and onion to the pan. Stir thoroughly and simmer, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes. Pull out the largest piece of chicken when you think its done. Cut into it at the thickest part to double-check there’s no pink left in the meat. If it is still pink, return it to the pan for another 5 minutes. Stir in the optional lime zest once it’s done cooking and just a moment before you dish it up. Citrus juice or zest never needs much time cooking and can lose it’s flavor after time.

The longer the curry cooks, the better the flavors will get. Often I will turn the heat down to low and continue simmering the curry while we eat. Then turn it off just before packing up the leftovers.

Chop the cashews into smaller pieces on a cutting board. And tear or slice the optional basil leaves into neat strips. Serve the curry warm in a bowl, topped with the cashews and basil.

Serving sizes: This dish has 3 or 4 servings, depending on which meal plan is being followed. Simply divide the chicken and veggies into 3 or 4 containers. The 1,500 calorie meal plan has 4 servings, while the 2,000 calorie meal plan has 3 servings. Store in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Microwave to reheat without any plastic, just in glass or ceramic containers.

 

RED CURRY IN A HURRY
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Juicy chicken simmered in a warm, coconut red curry sauce provides filling flavor in one healthy bowl. The fresh and fragrant basil leaves brighten up this take on the popular take-out dish. And it’s a one-pot wonder, making for easy clean-up.
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 40 oz
Ingredients
  • Chicken Thigh, Bone-In Skinless, NO ANTIBIOTICS, 1.5lb
  • Coconut Oil OR Butter, 2 tbsp
  • Red Curry Paste, 1 tbsp
  • Optional: Garlic, Minced, 2 Cloves
  • Coconut Milk (Can), 1X
  • Bamboo Shoots, 1 cup
  • Bell Pepper, Sliced, ORGANIC, 1X
  • Onion, Sliced, ½X
  • Broth, Chicken Organic Free-Range OR Homemade Bone, ½ cup
  • Tamari OR Soy Sauce, 2 tbsp
  • Cashews, ¼ cup
  • Optional: Thai Basil OR Italian Basil, 20 leaves (3 sprigs)
  • Optional: Lime Zest, 1 tsp
  • Optional: Red Chili Flakes ½-1 tsp
Instructions
  1. Optional: Remove the skin from the chicken thighs. Save skin or discard.
  2. Optional: Bring a deep skillet up to heat over a medium flame. Melt most, but not all, of the coconut oil, butter or ghee in the pan for a few seconds. Place the chicken thighs with the skin side (read: smoother side) down and allow to brown for about 3 minutes.
  3. Optional: Flip over and continue browning the muscle side for another 3 minutes.
  4. Remove the chicken from the pan, if you browned it. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the little bit of coconut oil left to the pan, then add the curry paste and garlic. Gently mash the curry paste around the pan for about 30 seconds to allow the flavors to bloom.
  5. Add the entire can of coconut milk, bone/chicken broth and optional red chili flakes to the pan and bring the heat back up to medium. Mix well and scrape up the browned meat bits from the bottom of the pan. Also add the tamari or soy sauce or fish sauce.
  6. Add the chicken, peppers, bamboo shoots and onion to the pan. Stir thoroughly and simmer, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes.
  7. Optional: Stir in the lime zest once it’s done cooking and just a moment before you dish it up.
  8. Chop the cashews into smaller pieces on a cutting board. And tear or slice the optional basil leaves into neat strips. Serve the curry warm in a bowl, topped with the cashews and basil.

 

Photo by Fotolia.[/two_third]

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