Monday, April 5, 2010

Chicken Stir-fry in a Thai Red Curry Sauce

When I lived in Chicago, I lived in an area surrounded by Thai and Vietnamese restaurants. I must have eaten Thai once a week. Now, back in my hometown, a suburb of Cincinnati, it isn't as easy to find that cuisine. Fortunately, I live by a wonderful grocery store, Jungle Jim's, that is full of many ingredients from all over the world. There is a whole aisle devoted to ingredients from Thailand. Therefore, I decided to make this Chicken Stir-fry that is cooked in a Thai Red Curry sauce. It is similar to the Chicken Teriyaki Stir-fry I made previously, with just a different combination of flavors.

I make a sauce of red curry paste, coconut milk, soy sauce and lime juice. I pour this sauce over a mixture of chicken and vegetables. It's a spicy sauce that is mellowed by the coconut milk. It is funny, I can't stand coconut, but I love Thai cuisine that includes coconut milk in almost every dish. It is important to serve this stir-fry over rice because the recipe makes a lot of sauce, and the sauce is quite thin, so you need to rice to soak it up.

Chicken Stir-fry in a Thai Red Curry Sauce

Red Curry Sauce:
  • 1 14-oz can light coconut milk
  • 2 to 4 Tablespoons Thai Red Curry Paste
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 6 cups assorted vegetables (I used a combination of carrots, snow peas, sliced mushrooms, and water chestnuts, broccoli and bamboo shoots would also work well)
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • salt
For serving:
  • green onions, thinly sliced
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • additional soy sauce
  • hot cooked rice


To make the sauce:
  • Pour the coconut milk in a medium size bowl, whisk the milk if it has separated in the can. Add the Thai Red curry paste and whisk to combine (it depends on how spicy you want your sauce, I used 4 tablespoons, but that may be too spicy for some, start with a few tablespoons and add until desired spice level is achieved, be sure to taste as you go along). Add the soy sauce and lime juice. Set aside and begin the stir-fry.
  • Note on the sauce: It really is all about personal preference. If you want it saltier, add more soy sauce, if you want more of a tart taste, add more lime juice, and if you want it spicier, add more curry paste.

To make the stir-fry:
  • Add the 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. First add the vegetables that take longer to cook, like the carrots, and stir-fry until tender, then add the vegetable that cook quicker, like the sugar snap peas, mushrooms, and water chestnuts. Season lightly with salt, and stir-fry until all the vegetables are tender. Remove vegetables from skillet and keep warm. Remember that the sauce contains soy sauce, so you don't want to salt the vegetables too heavily.
  • Next, heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons in the skillet and add the chicken and stir-fry until the chicken is cooked all the way through.
  • Once the chicken is cooked return the vegetables to the skillet, and pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables. Cook the stir-fry until it has come to a simmer, and everything is nice and hot.
  • Serve the stir-fry over hot cooked rice and top with green onions and cilantro for some fresh flavor. Also, serve with soy sauce if additional saltiness is desired.

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