Anyways the major highlight of the hibernation period – was a vacation for one whole month which was after almost 2 years! Was indeed refreshing and left me hung over still..
Vacation was an actual big fat Indian vacation in the complete sense interspersed with visiting relatives, numerous temples, hectic travels across various Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Orissa and also another country– Sri Lanka, lugging around heavy luggage, falling sick, shopping, meeting up with old friends, lots of reading and of course some finger-licking food !
After getting back and while settling into the routine, something which I realised is that though technically I cook a lot, there is not much variety in the cuisines that I attempt. So I have decided to put a conscious effort into experimenting cuisines across the globe and maybe put a bit of my Indian touch into it to adapt to our liking.
So I've shortlisted some of the recipes and cuisines that I would like to try and would be putting it up my successful attempts out here.
When we visited Srilanka, I happened to taste the ever-popular Thai Tom Yum soup (ironic.. I know !) and I absolutely fell in love with the flavours of lemon grass, ginger, coriander, the creamy coconut milk.
So it was pretty much decided that I would have to experiment Thai cuisine and after doing some research, it was obvious that the Thai were super-famous for their red, green, yellow curries which seemed so forgiving irrespective of using chicken/beef/sea food or vegetables.
This weekend, I made a simple Thai green chicken curry with an even simple coconut rice. I must say it took me less than an hour to get the meal ready. Did you hear that? SIMPLE AND DELICIOUS...sounds magical, right?
THAI GREEN CHICKEN CURRY WITH COCONUT RICE AND PRAWN CRACKERS
THAI GREEN CHICKEN CURRY
Serves 3-4 people
Largely adapted from Nisha's recipe
- Onion- 1/4 cup chopped
- Bell Pepper/Capsicum- 1 medium size chopped lengthwise (Used green and I think red would go very well or perhaps even mix of the two)
- Ginger and garlic paste- 3 tsp
- Coriander powder- 1 tbs
- Chilli powder- 1 tsp
- Chicken stock- ½ cup ( 1 Maggie Chicken cube dissolved in ½ cup hot water) (optional)
- Chicken Breasts- 450 gms cut into bite cubes ( Used Sadia boneless/skinless)
- Thai green curry paste (any brand, store-bought)- 3-.5 heaped tsp (Used Thai king brand)
- Fish sauce- 2 tbs
- Soy sauce- 1 tbsp
- Coconut milk- 1.5 cup (or more for additional gravy) (I mixed 3 heaped tsp coconut milk pdr in 1.5 cup warm water)
- Lemon grass- 1 ( optional)
- Green chillies- 2 slit lengthwise
- Spring onions- 1/4 cup (optional) ( I did not use)
- Coriander leaves- 2 tbsp chopped fine, to garnish
- Oil- 2 tbs
- Salt- to taste ( REFER NOTE in the end)
Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onions and capsicum until soft. Add the ginger-garlic paste and saute them for 3-4 mins. Tip in the coriander and chilli powder. Add the chicken and mix all of it well until the chicken turns light brown. Now add the chicken stock if using else add about 2-3 tbsps of water to bring it all together. Then in goes the Thai green curry paste and saute well. Pour in the fish and soy sauce. Mix all of this well so that the "masala" /(gravy) is incorporated well into the chicken. Add the coconut milk, green chilli, lemon grass (if using) and reduce the flame to low and cook uncovered. After 7-10 minutes, do a taste check for the salt and the flavours. If you feel you need some more of the flavour, add about 1/2- 1 tsp of the curry paste and continue to simmer.
Also, if you feel you need additional gravy, you can add about 1/2 cup of coconut milk. Like I said earlier, this is a very forgiving recipe and you can't go wrong !
Keep stirring and once the chicken is cooked, garnish with the coriander leaves.
Serve hot with the coconut rice or plain basmati rice !
Basmati Rice - 1 cup ( since it was just for the two of us)
Coconut Milk - 1 cup ( I mixed 1.5 heaped tsp of coconut milk pdr in 1 cup warm water)
Water- 1 -1.5 cups
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Wash and rinse the rice in running water three times. Then boil the coconut milk and the water in a pan. Once it comes to a boil, add the salt and rice and cook uncovered at a medium flame for 5 mins. Then reduce the flame to low, cover and cook for another 10-15 mins. The rice by now would have absorbed all the wonderful flavour from the coconut milk and must be smelling delicious ! Don't worry even if the rices gets overcooked/mushy, it still goes well with the chicken curry.
Store bought prawn crackers- 15-20 pieces
Heat the oil in a pan until almost smoking. Tip in 5-6 crackers at a time and stir it with a spoon. Take it out within 10 seconds. Allow to cool slightly to get the crackling effect. Serve with some Sweet chilli sauce and I strongly recommend KIMBALL's THAI SWEET CHILLI SAUCE.
- Be very careful while using salt for the curry, as the green curry paste, soy sauce,fish sauce and stock contains more than enough salt for the dish.
- Extra lemongrass is optional in the curry as the green curry paste already contains lemongrass and maybe not everyone might enjoy the extra lemongrass flavour.
- The actual "green curry paste" is not too difficult to make and there are several recipes floating around the internet and I just did not want to recommend any because I haven't tried it myself.
- My coconut rice turned a bit mushy and this tasted even better with the chicken curry than the properly cooked rice. So you need not be overly cautious about cooking the rice perfectly like for the Indian pulaos/ biriyanis.
- Prawn crackers are completely optional but an excellent accompaniment to the whole meal. Must say, I did overlook the MSG -Mono sodium glutamate in it while buying it.
My husband (my biggest food critic) absolutely loved the chicken curry and rice combo. He couldn't stop praising ( for a change!) and I was all smiles ear to ear. :) It was quite a change from the Indian chicken curry but yet so similar in several ways. The highlight being that it can be made in less than 30 mins is a winner and is definitely going to be a regular in my kitchen.