The Coconut Chicken Curry

First- my menu plan for the week. Second- Recipe! Kind of! With pictures! Bad pictures!

Here we go, part one. This week’s menu:

  • Monday: I’m having dinner at my Mom’s house. No idea what she’s making, but I’m thankful it’s not me cooking and cleaning up after! I usually love that stuff, but I’m still a bit tuckered out after being sick this weekend.
  • Tuesday: Belated Cinco de Mayo dinner! Chips, guac, salad, and grilled stuffed burritos, with various combinations of: shredded chicken, fajita veggies, black beans, cheese, cilatro/lime rice. We build our own at the table, then “grill” them on the griddle right at the table. One of the joys of having a gigantic dinner table with room to spare!
  • Wednesday: Smoked sausage with peppers and onions, side order of baked potatoes topped with broccoli and cheese.
  • Thursday: Shredded BBQ chicken sandwiches, fresh cucumber/tomato salad, potato chips if I’m feeling feisty.
  • Friday: Burgers! Corn on the cob! Pasta salad! Fresh fruit!
  • Saturday and Sunday: I have a TON of yard work to get caught up on, so I’ll be keeping it pretty simple this weekend. I’ll make a big batch of some kinda soup, fresh bread, and cut up a bunch of veggies. I’m pretty sure there will still be leftover BBQ chicken, and pasta salad. If I have more motivation, I’ll use my extra ground beef to make pasties. They are so, so, so good.

Now, on to part two.

Last Wednesday, I made The Coconut Chicken Curry.  Just like I promised my dear Nerbly. I measured nothing, and took horrible pictures with my cell phone. I vowed to “re-do” the whole operation over the weekend. Then came the sickness. At first I though I had poisoned myself with hardboiled eggs, that were a tad beyond old when I boiled them. I threw away the offenders. And then continued to be sick through most of Sunday. I probably threw out perfectly good hard boiled eggs. And I didn’t re-create and re-picture The Coconut Chicken Curry. Alas!

So here, without further ado, is my poor attempt at documenting my throw together “recipe”. Please enjoy. Or at least endure, and then lie to me. Pretty please?

First, cook some rice. I like Kokuho Rose short grain white rice, and I cook it in my rice cooker with chicken broth for this. I make about three scoops worth, which takes three cups of broth, and then stir in 2 Tbs salted butter when it’s done cooking. Yum. Yum. Yum.

So! Gather yourself, and your ingredients. The fresh goods:

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1 medium sized head of broccoli florets. 1 largish carrot. 1 large stalk celery, which creepily shows up neon green in pictures. A handful of sugar snap peas. Two smallish shallots, or one good sized one, or about a quarter cup of diced yellow onion and a garlic clove.

Season 3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs with Seasoned Salt and pepper, on the smooth side, not that I’m certain this makes a difference…. Heat your biggest saute pan over medium high heat, and add a big swig of olive oil. Swirl it around to coat then plop the chicken in, seasoned side down. Whatever you do! Don’t clean off your stovetop in advance. The splatters will only increase from here….

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Cook and cook them on side A, til when you peek underneath they are deeply golden. Then season side B, and flip em over to reveal this glorious view:

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While those are cookin’ away, chop up your veggies. Like this:

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Small dice on the shallots and celery. These will go in first. Carrots are about a quarter inch thick. Broccoli florets and stems are there too, and the snap peas have had their strings pulled. After side B of the chicken matches side A, remove it to a plate and let it cool down.

Now the pan is filled with lovely brown bits and pieces. Add another splash of olive oil, and then add the shallots and celery:

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Make sure some of your pictures are out of focus. It adds character. Right? Right. Now, add some water to the pan to steam/cook the veg and get the goodness up off the bottom before it starts to get too dark.

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Stir, and stir, and stir, getting up all the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add in the carrots, and a little more water.

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While those are softening up, dice up some green onions and cilantro. These don’t go in til the very end, but you have some time for this to cook, so you may as well get it out of the way.

Turn this:

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Into this:

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Now the carrots are partially cooked, but still not pierce-able with a fork. It’s time for the spice!

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What spices you say? Well, it’s “the Indian Curry that has the gold label and the deer on it”, “cumin from the co-op’s bulk section in an old sesame seed jar”, and “some brand of regular strength coconut milk from my neighborhood Asian food store”. Really specific stuff!

I throw in a bunch of the curry powder:

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Then,  I stir it around in the oil/water in the pan:

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Next, dump in the coconut milk:

ChickenCurry_13Mmmmm, chunky! It looks gross, but just keep stirring until the lumps are gone.

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See? Much better. Now taste a bit of the coconut milk, and find out that there is basically no flavor. Dump in a bunch much more curry powder.

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Stir, stir, stir, then dump in cumin.

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Stir that stuff in too, then go cut up the now cooled chicken. I use a pair of kitchen sheers for this, they’re handy, sharp, and come completely apart for easy cleaning. Cut the chicken against the grain, this helps make it super easy to chew and/or break into smaller pieces with your fork:

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The coconut curry should be gently simmering away. See this? The heat is too high here, so I had to turn it down a bit.

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This needs to simmer a bit slowly, to cook down the spices enough. If it reduces too fast, it will feel kind of chalky in your mouth. Yuck. Here is the place you taste for your curry seasoning and spiciness! You don’t want to add more later, because it won’t have time to cook down. It should taste a bit stronger than you’d like, since you’ll be adding in lots of other stuff, and will only get a thin layer of sauce over it all.

Now that you’re done with that part… Dump in the broccoli!

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Smoosh it around, until all the stem ends are down in the liquid.

ChickenCurry_20Plop a lid on it, stir it around a few times, and get that broccoli cookin.

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You can’t really tell here, but I promise you, they’re more cooked. Still pretty crisp, but softened up. Time to dump the chicken back in! And all the juices on the plate!

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Stir it around, then grind in some black pepper, and dump in some Seasoned salt:

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Add the pea pods, and stir it around:

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Let it cook, and stir it, and let it cook, and stir it. The veggies will give off extra water and it will get extra soupy:

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That’s right after I scraped the bottom with the spatula. Just simmer it, and let it reduce slowly:

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Then, when it gets to this stage, taste again for salt:

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It’s thicker and bubbly. I pushed all the veggies to the side so you could see this part:

ChickenCurry_27Bam! Perfect thickness! When you scrape the spatula along the bottom, it goes clean and oozes back in. Kill the heat, taste for salt and add more if necessary. Now! Dump in the cilantro and green onions:

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Stir in the herbs, and let it sit in the pan to cool and thicken,  for about 5 minutes. Keep stirring occasionally to keep the veggies & chicken coated. Now, serve it up in a big giant bowl, or on a plate. Put down a layer of rice, and ladel on a slightly greater amount of the chicken curry. Like so.

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This is one of the “large” Fiestaware bowls, and it holds 40 oz. Yep, that’s dinner!

What do you do differently when you make your version of this kinda thing?

 

 

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