Thai Chicken Curry


by: Ana Banana

Thai curries, of which there are several types - yellow, red, green, and mussaman - are actually pastes traditionally made by grinding herbs and aromatic ingredients in a mortar. A food processor can be used instead, but it won't make a smooth enough paste, so you have to strain the mixture before you use it. You can buy premade Thai curry pastes, but they never have the same flavor as freshly made ones. A variety of flavor-packed ingredients go into Thai curry pastes, including cilantro (ideally the root), chiles, lemon grass (citronella, the same thing used to make candles), kaffir lime (zest or leaves or both), galangal (which looks a little like ginger but has a very different, pinelike flavor), andjish sauce, among others. Traditional recipes also callfor shrimp paste, a heady ingredient made byfermenting shrimp in the sun. It is so pungent that many Western cooks leave it out of dishes for fear of the house smelling like an Asian fish stall on a hot day. The pastes are notoriously hot - green is hotter than red - and require a shocking number of chiles. This recipe strays from traditional versions in its use of poblano chiles, normally associated with Mexican cooking. They are a good choice because they provide plenty offlavor without overwhelming the dish with heat. Thai curries are best served with jasmine or basmati rice that has been simply boiled or steamed. Makes 6 main-course servings.


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serves: 6

3 poblano chiles (charred, peeled, and seeded and then chopped)

2 jalapeno (or Thai chiles, seeded and chopped) (optional)

1 stalk lemongrass (6 inches of white bulb part only, tough outer layer discarded and very thinly sliced)

3 shallots (chopped)

3 cloves garlic (chopped)

1 bunch cilantro (including stems, coarsely chopped)

6 leaves kaffir lime

piece 1-inch galangal (peeled and thinly sliced) (optional)

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

2 cups chicken broth or water

1/4 cup Thai fish sauce

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (preferably small holy basil leaves)

1 can (15-ounce) unsweetened coconut milk (preferably Thai)

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 1/2 pounds boneless (skinless chicken breasts, cut on an angle into strips 2 to 3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide)

Nutrition Facts
Thai Chicken Curry

Servings Per Recipe: 6

Amount per Serving

Calories: 268

  • Total Fat: 8.3 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 2.8 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 85.1 mg
  • Sodium: 3609.8 mg
  • Total Carbs: 7.7 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 1.2 g
  •     Sugars: 2.9 g
  • Protein: 38.9 g

how is this calculated?

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1.  In a food processor, combine the chiles, lemongrass, shallots, garlic, cilantro, 2 of the kaffir lime leaves, the galangal, coriander, cumin, white pepper, and 1 cup of the broth. Process for 1 minute. If the mixture gets too stiff and the blades can't turn, add a little more of the broth. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan, bring to a simmer, and simmer gently for 5 minutes to infuse the ingredients in the liquid. Work the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean pot large enough to hold the whole finished curry.

2.  Add the remaining 1 cup broth and 4 kaffir lime leaves along with the fish sauce, basil, coconut milk, and lime juice and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened. If the curry needs salt, add more fish sauce, which will provide both salt and savor.

3.  Add the chicken, simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, or until just cooked through, and serve.

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