I love Thai green curry, but I’m not a big fan of store bought curry paste. It never ends up tasting like much of anything and is often rather too hot for my liking (I’m kind of a spice-wimp). So, I figured I’d take a stab at making my own and I have to say I think I’ve hit on a combination of flavors that (while maybe not totally authentically Thai) is quite awesome. Try for yourself and see what you think!
serves 2 (with plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day)
For the Thai-style curry:
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2-3 tbs minced fresh cilantro (you want this quantity *after* mincing)
1 1/2 tbs minced garlic
zest of 2 whole limes
3 tbs fresh lime juice
3 tbs minced shallot
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 fresh green chili
note: you can select a chili with the amount of heat you desire (a jalapeno for less heat, a thai chili for more) and use only the amount you want (see below for more on this)
1/2 a green bell pepper
1 tbs peanut oil, plus more for cooking
2-3 tsp Kosher salt
1 whole lemongrass stalk
1 tbs honey
1/4 cup gluten free soy sauce
1 tbs rice vinegar
1 1/2 cans of light coconut milk
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 whole chicken breasts (skin and bones still on)
1/2 lbs of fresh green beans
1 cup sushi rice
The first thing you want to do is prepare the green curry paste.
Add to a blender the following ingredients: the ground cumin and coriander, the minced cilantro, the minced garlic, the lime zest and lime juice, the minced shallot and minced ginger, the diced green bell pepper, and 1 tbs of peanut oil. Also add the fresh chili. If you want only mild heat, use about 1/2-1/4 of the chili (1/2 if you choose a less spicy pepper, like a jalapeno, and 1/4 if you choose a hotter Thai chili). The more fresh hot pepper you add, the hotter the resulting curry will be. I’d recommend adding just a little, pureeing, tasting, and adding more if you want it hotter. You can always increase the heat, but it’s hard to decrease it!
Puree all these ingredients in the blender until very well mixed (at least 1 full minute). Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.
Meanwhile, cook the chicken breasts. Remove them from their packaging, rinse them under cold water, pat them dry, place them on a rimmed baking tray and rub them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast them in a 425 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads about 160. Let them cool until you can handle them, then remove the skin and cut the meat in slices from from the bones. Pick off any remaining meat. Set all the removed meat aside, as you will add it to the curry sauce later. Discard the skin and bones.
Likewise, prep the green beans by snipping off the stem and tips and breaking the beans into 1 1/2″ inch pieces.
Also cook your rice. First rinse the 1 cup rice under cold water, then add to a pot, along with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a simmer, reduce heat to as low as possible, cover, and cook until the water has all evaporated (about 15 minutes). The rice can sit, covered, in the pot off the heat after it is ready.
To finish the dish, heat about 1 tbs of peanut oil in a large, high-sided skillet. Add the green curry paste and pan fry it for about 3-4 minutes, stirring often to make sure all the ingredients in the sauce are well cooked. At this time, also prep the lemongrass stalk by peeling off and discarding the tough outer leaves and trimming off the root and ends. Cut the stalk into 3 equal pieces and add it to the curry paste. Fry another 30 seconds, then add the coconut milk, honey, soy sauce, and vinegar. Stir well and let the sauce simmer for about 5-10 minutes, stirring often. Taste the sauce, adding more salt, lime, or even slices of fresh hot chili pepper as needed. If the sauce is too thick, or too strongly flavored, add about 1/4 cup water.
Once you have the sauce exactly how you like it, toss in the fresh green beans and let them cook a few minutes until crisp-tender. Then add the cooked chicken and simmer on very low heat for just a minute or two more (you don’t want to dry out the chicken). Discard the lemongrass stalks before serving.
Portion rice into two bowls and top with a hearty serving of the green curry with chicken and green beans.
This is one of those lovely “one pot meals” containing protein, veg, and starch all in one. Still, you wouldn’t go wrong to serve a simple salad with soy-sesame vinaigrette or a salad of raw snap peas.