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Friday, July 24, 2015

Thai Green Curry with Chicken and Zucchini

If I was told I could only ever eat Thai for the rest of my life.. I wouldn't be able to complain.
Don't get me wrong, I love my Indian food, but Thai comes in a very very close second.  If they didn't have any curry recipes, I'd probably be miserable.  I live for curry.  Thai curry is very different from Indian curry in that the base is usually roots such as galangal and lemongrass and other strange plants that are hard to find or pronounce and always involves coconut milk.  Indian curries are usually a blend of dry roasted spices, ground or whole, with a tomato.  Both have the name "curry" but only share the garlic and ginger.  This is one of the reasons when someone tells me they don't like "curry," I have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.  Commercial curry powder is something I never use.. because I just don't have any uses for it.  It's basically turmeric blended with various other things but I haven't seen one authentic Indian or Thai recipe that uses "curry" powder.  Curry paste, however is completely different.  It is a pre-mashed mixed of thai herbs and roots that may be hard to find in Europe or the US that even Thai home cooks buy and use to save time.  You can find great quality Thai curry pastes at the Asian supermarket that will help you construct a nice base.  Mae Anong and Mae Ploy are the best brands I've tried so far.
Enough technical talk.
This Thai green curry is what I mean when I talk about therapy cooking.  I close my eyes and imagine the silky spicy coconut milk and the almost crunchy zucchini pieces with that burst of lemongrass flavor while I cut my vegetables.  My ginger screamed at me from the freezer because I was mindlessly just going about with the curry paste and coconut milk that I almost forgot the most essential ingredient.  The cooking order is important, because that is the order each ingredient spoke to me, and it is the way it should be for each flavor to release its maximum sex appeal...
Serves 5
2 large chicken breasts, cut into cubes (about 200g or 7oz)
2 zucchini, cut into half moons
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp green curry paste
1 slice galangal (mine was dried)
3 keffir lime leaves
1 stalk lemongrass, chopped
2 large shallots, chopped
1 green chile, slit
1 carrot, julienned
2 scallions, chopped
1 can coconut milk
1/2 inch ginger, julienned
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 handful cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp fish sauce (nuoc nam)
Thai chiles for garnish
1.  Heat the oil in a wok and sizzle the curry paste for a few seconds, then add the shallots, lemongrass, galangal, and keffir leaves.  Cook for about 2 minutes.  It should be very very fragrant.
2.  Add the green chile and zucchini moons.  Cook, stirring for another 5 minutes.
3.  Add the chicken and coconut milk.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for another 10 minutes.
4.  Add the julienned ginger slices, carrots, scallions, and garlic.  Simmer for another 5 minutes.
5.  Remove from heat and stir in the fish sauce.  Let rest until ready to eat.
Serve over some basmati rice garnished with chopped cilantro and an Thai chile for extra heat... along with some Thai Iced Tea.

This is the most precise Thai coconut curry I've ever made.  The taste was flashback enhancing.  It may be because I didn't use a recipe, but let the Thai spirit take over me...

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