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Green curry chicken

Green curry is a nice introduction to Thai curry recipes. Not too spicy, not too complicated to make.

Thai curries tend to be more “simmer the protein gently in sauce” than “stir fry.” This is no exception. The sauces also tend to be thinner; this one gets a little bit of thickness from cooking onions in liquid for a long time until they start to dissolve — but no other thickeners are used.

This recipe is mostly just chicken and onion, but you can add a wide variety of vegetables (particularly hardy ones like carrots and bell peppers that will old up well if simmered in sauce for a long time).

Serves about 4. Preparation time: about 30 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. cooking oil (canola, vegetable, peanut, or other high-smoke-point oil)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tbsp. Thai green curry paste
  • 1 can (13.5 oz.) coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves (you can buy them dried online, or fresh at an Asian grocery store)
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • Juice and zest of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped, to finish

Heat the cooking oil in a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. This should seem familiar: we’re starting by sauteing some aromatic vegetables.

Add the green curry paste, stir in, and cook for 2 minutes. And then we’re blooming the spices.

Add the coconut milk, chicken stock and lime leaves. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken and bring back to a boil. We cook the chicken in the curry sauce, rather than stir-frying it separately.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Cooking it on simmer hopefully leaves the chicken tender — cooking it on a high boil would not. You could use chicken thighs for this recipe too, though after about 20 minutes the collagen in the chicken thigh meat would start to melt and the pieces would start to fall apart. By the way, the sauce is going to look milky and light-green at this point, not at all like what you would expect from a curry sauce. But after the next step it will look and taste very different.

Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, lime zest, and sugar. Cook for 3 minutes. Season to taste. The last few minutes of cooking is important to allow the flavors to blend and develop with the heat.

Remove from heat, move to a serving bowl, and sprinkle cilantro on top.

Serve immediately. Serve it with a ladle — the sauce is going to be thin, which is normal. It’s still very tasty — serve it with rice to sop up all that flavor.

Tips and suggestions:

  • You can adjust the “curry” flavor strength by adding or subtracting curry paste.
  • You can also vary — slightly — the amount of soy sauce, fish sauce, and lime. All three are strong flavors, so a little goes a long way in adding richness and complexity.