Knock knock knock.
Once upon a time and not recently I was on a splashy first class tour of a very successful new musical. “Hairspray” travelled the US with critical acclaim and a wicked talented cast. I was Link Larkin, the self-proclaimed prettiest boy of summer and I wore Abercrombie and Fitch polos one on top of the other with popped collars. I thought I was cool.
On my travels I ate a lot of wonderful food. That hasn’t changed to this day. Near San Fransisco’s Golden Gate Theatre where we played for about 3 months was a Thai restaurant with no seating. Come in, pick up your food, get out. A momma and her kids were in the kitchen snapping at each other and turning out insanely spicy food. It was the kind of food that makes you sweat and your guts churn after you eat it. It was wonderful.
I was inspired to teach myself how to make Thai food like that. I would watch that momma in the kitchen while I was waiting for my food. I acquired one particular book that really helped me get on the right track. I experimented. I made food that my taster choke down even though he was sweating and crying. Over time my skills evolved and for a Texas born white guy, I make some mean Thai food.
So here is a favorite. My vegetabled-up red curry. Enjoy, my Lovelies!
What you need:
- 14 ounce can of good quality coconut milk
- 1 – 2 tablespoons Maesri red curry paste (depending on your heat tolerance)
- 1/4 cup quality fish sauce (I prefer more than that but most people don’t)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 5-8 kaffir lime leaves (these are hard to find… helpful but not essential)
- 1/4 cup (or more) fresh Thai basil
- 6 – 7 cups assorted vegetables (see photo) including broccoli, Thai eggplant, Japanese eggplant, carrots, red or green bell pepper, green beans, zucchini, snow pea pods, mushrooms, kabocha squash or bean sprouts
- 1 pound of chicken, light or dark meat*, in bite size pieces
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- steamed Texmati rice**
Prepare your vegetables by chopping them in similar shapes for even cooking (see photo). Stack the vegetables in a steamer with the hardest, heaviest ones on the bottom nearest the heat. Steam for just 3-4 minutes to soften them. If using sprouts do not steam them at all.
Put the vegetable oil in a large skillet and get it hot. Add the chicken and cook through.
Add the coconut milk and the curry paste. Combine. Add brown sugar and fish sauce. Stir to combine and allow sugar to melt. Add steamed vegetables and lime leaf. Stir to let the sauce cover everything. Bring to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add Thai basil and sesame oil.
Plate over Texmati rice. Enjoy!
For downloadable PDF click here: Red Curry Chicken Gentleman Style
*This works brilliantly with cubed fish, shrimp, firm tofu, meat or pork. Or just vegetables!
**Texmati is an American basmati rice (Jasmine) like you’d find in Thailand or India. It is a product of Alvin, Texas! It’s quite lovely.