Tasty Tuesday: Thai Red Curry (แกงเผ็ดไก่ – kaeng phet kai)

Red Curry

Red Curry (Photo credit: wEnDaLicious)

Easy Thai Red Curry Recipe

This Thai Red Curry Recipe is fragrant and sumptuous, and can be made anywhere from mild to red-hot, depending on your taste. It starts with a homemade Thai red curry paste which is easily put together with your food processor or blender. Add coconut milk, chicken, and some vegetables, and you have a healthy and hearty curry dish that will awaken your senses and boost your mood. Note that although this dish would traditionally have been simmered over a fire or stove top, I’ve adapted it to be cooked in the oven, allowing you to get on with your day. Feel free to use the traditional method if you prefer. ENJOY!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Yield: SERVES 3-4 as a Main Entree

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium whole chicken, cut into parts, or equivalent of breast or thigh
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced into small chunks
  • Optional: 1-2 cups chopped eggplant, skin left on
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, OR substitute bay leaves
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick (OR add 1/4 tsp. cinnamon to the sauce)
  • handful fresh basil and coriander/cilantro

Red Curry Sauce:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2-3 Tbsp. minced fresh lemongrass, OR bottled/frozen prepared lemongrass
  • 1 shallots OR 1/4 cup purple onion, sliced
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal OR ginger, grated
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 fresh red chilies, sliced, OR 1/2 to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato ketchup or cooked tomato puree
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1+1/2 to 2 Tbsp. chili powder, depending on how spicy you want it (North American chili powder from the supermarket)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar, + more to taste
  • 1 tsp.shrimp paste
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Then place chicken pieces in a fairly large casserole dish.
  2. Place all curry sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process well. Pour the curry sauce over the chicken. Add the chopped eggplant (if using), plus kaffir lime leaves/bay leaf and cinnamon stick, mixing everything into the sauce. Cover and bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Note: if you prefer more sauce, add 1/4 to 1/3 cup good-tasting chicken stock. (If you prefer to cook this curry on your stove top, see instructions below*.)
  3. Remove dish from oven. Add the bell pepper and tomato, stirring them into the sauce. Return curry to the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until both chicken and vegetables are well cooked.
  4. Do a taste test, looking for a balance of flavors. If not salty or flavorful enough, add up to 1 Tbsp. more fish sauce. If too salty, add more fresh lime juice. If too sour, add a little more brown sugar. If too spicy, add more coconut milk. If not spicy enough, add a few fresh-cut chilies or dried crushed chili/cayenne pepper.
  5. Ladle the curry into a large serving bowl. Sprinkle generously with fresh basil and coriander (cilantro), and serve with plenty of Thai jasmine rice . ENJOY!

*Stove top method: To cook this curry on your stovetop, simply combine sauce and chicken pieces (plus lime leaves, cinnamon, and cumin seed) in a wok, deep frying pan, or large pot. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the vegetables and continue simmering another 15 minutes, or until both vegetables and chicken are cooked. Follow recipe above for finishing the dish.

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