Red curries are one of the more popular of the various Thai curries (green, yellow and Massaman are a few others). Curry pastes are the foundation of Thai curries. While many Thai cooks start with their own version of curry pastes, most use one of the many very good commercially prepared versions. Thai curries are different from Indian curries in that they use fresh herbs such as lemon grass, Thai ginger and other moist flavorings while Indian curries rely on a different array of dry herbs and spices. This dish uses red curry paste that, due to the popularity of Thai food, is now easy to find in the Asian food section of most major supermarkets these days. The amount called for in this recipe produces a medium hot dish. The heat can be adjusted by adding more or less paste. This is a perfect dish to try if you’ve been wanting to try making a Thai curry at home. It goes together fast and can be ready to serve in the time it takes to cook a batch of plain rice.
The chicken is prepped using a method that guarantees tender pieces of chicken that cook in minutes. The boneless chicken breasts are pounded between pieces of plastic wrap with a meat tenderizer mallet and then sliced into 1 inch pieces. Beef and pork can substitute for the chicken in this recipe and will also benefit from this tenderizing step. Another trick I like to use when I desire a sauce that’s a little thicker is to refrigerate the can of coconut milk called for in the recipe. The thicker, richer coconut cream will rise to the top of the can and solidify leaving the thinner, clear coconut water at the bottom. I often just use the thicker bit at the top of the can, scooping it out with a tablespoon.
Serve with plenty of plain jasmine rice. Sliced fresh mangoes or pineapple are perfect for desert.
2 boneless chicken breasts
1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
1 can good quality coconut milk
1 can sliced bamboo shoots, drained
½-1 tsp Thai fish sauce
2 tsp light brown sugar
2 tsp fresh lime juice
Shredded green onions and slivered bell peppers for garnish
Place the boneless chicken breasts between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and with a meat tenderizer mallet pound each to ½ inch thickness. Slice into 1 inch pieces.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick sauté pan or wok. Quickly stir fry the chicken for 2 minutes. Add the curry paste and stir fry for another minute.
Add the thick portion of a can of coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add the bamboo shoots, fish sauce, sugar and lime juice.
Serve right away with hot plain rice garnished with sliced green onions, bells peppers or an extra spoonful of coconut milk. Serves 2.