How To: Low(er) Fat Thai Curry
The last several months, I have made variations on this recipe 3-4 times a month, and we eat it the night I make it and then pack it up for work that week. Since it's basically for a week's worth of lunches, it is a huge batch. Also, I like to get the paste, coconut milk, and bamboo at a local Asian grocery, because it's generally a LOT cheaper than at a grocery store.
- 1/2 cup curry paste (We love Massaman. If you use green, red, etc, you will want to use about 1/8 to 1/6 cup—unless you can handle spicy curry!)
- 3 T vegetable oil
- 1 15 oz can of Coconut Milk
- 1.5 lb chicken, trimmed and cubed (Steak is also delicious in this recipe)
- 1-2 green or red bell peppers, sliced
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 4-6 potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 15 oz can of sliced bamboo shoots
- (If massaman) 1/3 cup cashews
- 3 T sugar
- (If massaman, optional) 1 T tamarind paste
OK, I have pretty much perfected the order of operations for this thing... So if it seems out of order to you, just trust me that it's the easiest way to do it!
Peel and cube potatoes—about a 1/2 to 3/4 in cubes are good. Put them in a pot with water and start cooking them while you're preparing everything else. Make sure you keep checking these—You only want the potatoes to cook about halfway (if they cook more than that, they'll turn to mush in the curry, and the texture of the whole thing turns weird). If this happens before you're ready to add the potatoes, drain and put back into the pot (without heat).
Chop the onion and green pepper and put in bowl and set aside. Open can of bamboo, drain, and put half of the can in the vegetable bowl and the other half in a sandwich baggie for next time. Set bowl aside.
Chop meat, and put in another bowl and set aside.
Shake and open can of coconut milk. Put 1.5 c water and 1.5 c coconut milk in a measuring cup. If you are making rice as well, now is a good time to get that started.
In large wok, heat the 3 T of oil for about 45-60 seconds. Add curry paste to the oil, taking care to not splash. Continually stir! If you ignore the wok at this point, the paste and oil will probably burn and you will have to start this step over.
Once the oil is completely absorbed into the paste, add the 3 c of milk and water to the wok. Break up the paste with your spatula, and stir slowly.until the paste is completely broken up and the mixture starts to bubble. While this is heating, put the rest of the can of coconut milk into your measuring cup and add water until you have a total of 1.5 c.
Add water/milk mix and meat. Heat at just barely bubbling until the outsides of the meat are cooked.
Add vegetables from bowl, drained potatoes, cashews, and 1.5 c of water. Keep temperature at just above bubbling.
After about 10 minutes, add 3 T sugar and 1 T tamarind paste and mix well.
Once your peppers are cooked all the way, your curry is done! If your rice isn't ready, or if you're not ready for dinner yet, turn the stove to low and let simmer for a while—it will further mix and intensify the flavors.
And there you have it! You can add different kinds of vegetables, or more or less paste, different meats, etc... My latest batch is pineapple curry—I used a red base, replaced the water with pineapple juice from the can at the first milk-and-water-adding, and then added the pineapple chunks when the peppers were almost soft. Would it be helpful to list different variations you can do?