This is a special post. It features a meal prepared in front of me and my camera lens by Guest Chef Dan and Guest Sous Chef Melissa.
They recently moved to a new apartment in San Francisco in close proximity to a large quantity of Asian markets, and were inspired by the easy access to lemongrass, lime leaves, and Thai green chiles. Dan had tried out this recipe earlier in the week, and made it again for my benefit when I visited. It was awesome to get a taste of the neighborhood, while also having a meal prepared by friends. And it was totally delicious. Thanks guys!
Here is the recipe, which they took directly from about.com. Although this recipe is for chicken curry, my hosts had run out of chicken, so ours was vegetarian, and included broccoli in addition to the other veggies.
Thai Green Curry Chicken (serves 2-3)
- 1 to 1.5 lbs. (about 0.7 kg) boneless chicken thigh or breast, cut into chunks
- 4 kaffir lime leaves (can be purchased frozen at most Asian food stores)
- a generous handful of fresh basil
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and cut into chunks
- 1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise several times, then cut into chunks
- 2 Tbsp. oil for stir-frying
- GREEN CURRY PASTE:
- 4 small green Thai chilies, OR substitute 1 to 2 jalapeno peppers
- 1/4 cup shallot OR purple onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 thumb-size piece galangal OR ginger, grated
- 1 stalk lemongrass, sliced thinly OR 3 Tbsp. frozen prepared lemongrass
- 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. shrimp paste
- 1 cup fresh coriander/cilantro leaves and stems, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper (can be purchased at some supermarkets, OR at Asian food stores)
- 3 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp. lime juice
- Prepare the chicken and chop the bell pepper and zucchini.
- Place all the “green curry paste” ingredients together in a food processor. Blitz to a paste. If necessary, add a few tablespoons of the coconut milk to help blend ingredients. Set aside.
- Prepare the lime leaves by tearing the leaf away from either side of the stem. Discard the central stem. Then, using scissors, cut leaves into thin strips. Set aside.
- Warm a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl around, then add the green curry paste.
- Stir-fry briefly to release the fragrance (30 seconds to 1 minute), then add 3/4 of the coconut milk, reserving 2-3 Tbsp. per serving portion for later.
- Add the chicken, stirring to incorporate. When the curry sauce comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium or medium-low, until you get a nice simmer.
- Cover and allow to simmer 3-5 more minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Stir occasionally.
- Add the red bell pepper and zucchini, plus the strips of lime leaf, stirring well to incorporate. Simmer another 2-3 minutes, or until vegetables are softened but still firm and colorful.
- Do a taste-test for salt, adding 1-2 tablespoons of fish sauce if not salty enough. If you’d prefer a sweeter curry, add a little more sugar. If too salty, add a squeeze of lime or lemon juice. If too spicy, add more coconut milk. Note that this curry should be a balance of salty, spicy, sweet and sour, plus bitter (the bitter is found in the fresh basil garnish).
- Serve this curry in bowls with rice served separately, allowing guests to add their own. Top each portion with fresh basil, then drizzle over 2-3 Tbsp. coconut milk.
Dan requested that I include the advice, “if serving diners with sensitive taste buds, use three chilies instead of four.” As a diner with sensitive taste buds, I completely agree.
He also left me with the Guest Chef quote, “Dan’s the name and fish sauce is my game.” Indeed.