With the chill in the air these days, I am craving hearty, warming foods. Stews, soups, roasts, casseroles.
Lately, I’ve branched out from my typical palate into some Thai flavors. This recipe was simple, and the results were quite good. Many supermarkets carry jarred curry pastes, and these would all work well in this recipe, but I was fortunate enough to source mine from Kalaya Market.
Like many restaurants these days, Kalaya has had to retool. The creative chef/owner Nok Suntaroanon did so rather nimbly, opening a Thai market on Ninth Street to supplement her acclaimed restaurant just a block away.
The market houses a rotating menu of Thai dishes, along with the building blocks for meals using Suntaroanon’s handcrafted spice blends and curry pastes, sauces, salads, dumplings and other ingredients. They also offer expert advice on how to use the ingredients, how to assemble meals using their offerings and simple recipes.
Curry paste can be used as a rub, a marinade, the base for a sauce or a way to add zing to soup or stew. I have not tried putting it over cereal or in coffee, but give me time. A little goes a long way, and it can be mixed with oil, broth, coconut milk or water to dilute the intensity.
In the recipe below, I used the paste as both a marinade and the base for the sauce. The curry delivered plenty of complexity and flavor, so I kept the sides pretty simple — brown basmati rice and sautéed broccoli/cauliflower.
There is a lot going on flavorwise in this meal, and the curry is quite filling, so we skipped dessert. But if you have a hankering for something sweet, I suggest keeping it simple: Fruit sorbet, fresh mango or pineapple, dark chocolates, sponge cake or spiced cookies would complete this meal nicely without being overly heavy.
Green Curry Chicken
I kept this straightforward, using just carrots and chicken in the curry, but you could branch out with other protein or vegetables. If you use fish, I would not marinate it for longer than 30 minutes, and the cooking time would be cut in half. This would lend itself well to tofu, chickpeas and/or a mélange of vegetables.
2 pounds boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon green curry paste (plus more if needed)
½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons mild oil like vegetable or canola, plus more for sautéing
2 carrots, sliced in coins
1 can coconut milk
1 cup water or broth
Juice of 1 lime
Chopped fresh cilantro for serving
Place the chicken, curry paste and 2 tablespoons of oil in a sealable container. Mix to coat and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
In a pan with a lid, heat a light coating of oil and add the chicken with the marinade. Add the salt and carrots, and sauté until the chicken is seared.
Add the coconut milk and water, bring it to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour until the chicken is done and tender.
Taste for seasoning, then add the juice of the lime, salt and a bit more curry paste, if desired. Serve over rice or Thai noodles topped with fresh cilantro.
Sautéed Broccoli and Cauliflower
I loved this color combo — I had purple cauliflower, which looked beautiful on the plate with the bright green broccoli. Sautéing this with garlic and ginger added just enough to keep the vegetables interesting and in the theme of the meal without overpowering the curry.
If you don’t have this combo, a whole head of either one works fine. And if you don’t love this vegetable choice, you can use this recipe with whatever you like — just be sure to adjust the cooking time depending on the size and hardiness of the vegetable. Sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips or collards will take a while, but string beans and spinach are quick.
If you have leftovers, toss these in a green salad for lunch or dinner tomorrow and spritz it with some lime, salt, pepper and oil.
½ head broccoli, cut in florets
½ head purple cauliflower, cut in florets
1-inch piece ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon canola oil
¼ teaspoon salt
Heat the oil with salt, garlic and ginger over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the vegetables and stir-fry until cooked to crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. Serve immediately.