Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Chicken in Green Curry Sauce

We had a fantastic GNI (girls' night in) last night. My good friend S is moving back to the States in a few weeks, so we had to send her off in style with loads of good food, good drinks (appletinis are my new BFF) and loads of good company. Oh yeah, and a pretty beaded bracelet too.

Since it was her last GNI, we let S pick the menu and to my surprise she picked my very own chicken in green curry sauce as one of her all-time favorite foods! It got rave reviews and loads of requests for the recipe last night, so after going and digging it out (I remembered I'd written it up for someone else ages ago but didn't remember where I'd put it) I figured I'd share it with all of you, too.

Chicken (or Tofu) in Green Curry Sauce

This isn't a "real" recipe so all quantities and ingredients are suggestions... Don't be put off by the number of ingredients, this is much more of a "make it up as you go" dish and is actually quite easy to cook once you've gotten the basic idea down.

garlic (2-3 cloves)

scallions (separate whites from greens)

5-8 dried kaffir lime leaves

lemon grass (fresh is best but dried will also work)

galangal (dried root similar to ginger, sold sliced and dried, looks like wood). Substitute freshly ground ginger if you don't have galangal.

1-3 Tbl of green curry paste, depending on strength and desired heat. Available anywhere that sells Asian food products. It comes in a little plastic bag or tub and will last forever in your refrigerator. BE CAREFUL though, fresh chili paste is VERY strong. If in doubt start with a little and add more later. (If you can't find curry paste you can substitute 2-3 dried birdseye chilis or other small red chilis. It won't be quite the same, but it will still be good.)

Cut up any or all of the following (e.g. whatever happens to be in the fridge at the time):

eggplant (this can be left out if you're in a hurry)
green beans

2 chicken breasts, cut into strips or chunks OR 1 package of firm tofu (cubed)

peanut or other light oil for stir-frying


Soy sauce
Mirin (or other white cooking wine)
Hoisin sauce
Oyster sauce
Coconut MILK (not cream). Shake to mix before using.

Approximately 1 heaping tablespoon corn starch mixed in about 1/3 Cup water. (You'll need to restir this just before using.)

Handful of chopped basil

Scallion tops (greens)

To prepare:

Stir-fry garlic, galangal/ginger, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, chili paste and scallion bottoms (white parts) in a bit of oil for 1-2 minutes. Remove from wok and set aside.

Add a bit more oil to the wok and stir-fry the chicken until just cooked through. Remove from wok and set aside.

Stir-fry the eggplant with a bit of salt. Add a little oil if necessary. (Not too much, eggplant soaks it up.) Cook until eggplant is very soft (5-10 minutes).

Put seasonings (garlic, etc.) back into the wok.

Add the "take longer to cook" vegetables (carrots, zucchini, etc.). Stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Start adding the remaining vegetables. When they're nearly done, add in the cashews and the tofu or chicken. (Note: tofu doesn't need to actually cook, just get warmed and seasoned) and cashews.

When the vegetables are bright colored and still fairly crisp, start adding sauces - I use a combination of soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, mirin (or other white cooking wine) and a little chicken (or veggie) stock to help make a sauce. Next add about half a can of coconut milk. Stir to mix. Taste. When you've got the seasonings the way you want them, give the corn starch mixture a quick stir. Pour into the wok and stir quickly. Add a little more if you want to make the sauce thicker.

Serve over noodles or rice. Top with fresh scallion greens. Remind everyone NOT to eat the galangal, lemon grass or kaffir lime leaves. As in Thailand, they're left in the dish but the diner just leaves them on the side of the plate.

Enjoy, or as we say in Israel, B'Teavon, which roughly translates to "Bon Appetit".


Pieces of Me said...

Looks yummy, better than the restaurant across the street.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Wow, that looks great! Anything with coconut milk is A-OK in my book.