Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Thai-ish Curry - December 4th, 2008

*This was originally posted waaaaaaaay back in December, but it lacked pictures.*

After missing Thanksgiving dinner with my family (I was working all weekend), I must admit that I’m homesick for some home food. I went through the fridge and found some carrots and potatoes that needed to be used up, so I made some Thai curry. Except there’s not much that’s Thai about it. I pretty much made up my own curry. And it didn’t taste like home. At all.

It didn’t occur to me to take pictures of my prep, so you’ll just have to make do with these photos.

Here’s a rough approximation of what I used:

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
¼ medium red pepper, sliced
¼ medium green pepper, sliced
½ cup mushrooms, sliced
½ cup bamboo shoots, sliced
1 cup baby red potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
¾ cup baby carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
1 can coconut milk
½ cup chicken breast, diced
1 ½ cups chicken stock
2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
2 tsp salt (to taste)
2 tsp vegetable oil

First, season the chicken with a teaspoon of salt. Sauté the chicken with vegetable oil in a hot pan (medium-high). The chicken will probably stick to the pan and brown, but that’s okay. You’re looking for golden pieces of chicken breast. Remove from pan.

Do not shake the can of coconut milk before you open it. Scrape the cream on top (coconut oil), and add to the pan. Add the curry paste and cook until fragrant. The mixture will get separated and look chunky.

Sauté the garlic and onions in this mixture until fragrant.

Add the vegetables salt, and peanut butter. Cook for 5 minutes. The paste mixture will start to really stick to the pan.

Toss in the chicken and cook for another 5 minutes.

Pour in the rest of the coconut milk, as well as the chicken stock. Scrape the burned bits at the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, and then simmer at a low heat for an hour, or until the vegetables are cooked through.

Serve piping hot over vermicelli noodles, or with a baguette on the side for dipping.

At home, we use Japanese somen noodles. My mum cooks them until al dente, and then quickly douses them in cold water. Once the noodles have cooled, she’ll form them into little bundles of noodles, squeeze out the excess water, and arrange them in a strainer. She puts a damp cheesecloth over top to keep them moist. We do this step to make sure that the noodles don’t get soggy while we wait for the curry to finish cooking. It’s difficult to explain the process without step-by-step pictures, so I’ll have to get someone else to take pictures while I do this. I’ve only done this once with my mum at home because she gets frustrated with my clumsiness.

Considering this is my second time forming the vermicelli into bundles, I think I did pretty well. At first, I thought I was leaving too much water in the bundles; however, they turned out perfect after sitting in the strainer for 15 minutes.

Here’s a shot of the curry and noodles mixed together. I should mention that this curry tasted NOTHING like home. It’s too thick and not savoury enough. I completely bastardized the recipe to the point where my mum would probably refuse to eat it. I’m one of the laziest cooks you’ll meet, I promise you.

In the end, this un-Thai curry managed to subdue my cravings for home food, so I suppose I shouldn’t knock it too much. Only a few weeks until Christmas and REAL home food!

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