My husband is on quite a restrictive diet at the moment so we try to avoid big food groups such as dairy, wheat, soy, some nuts and anything fermented that may negatively impact his health. So, it has been quite a challenge to cook sometimes. I have to be creative so he can still enjoy his food despite all the restrictions. Thankfully, I can still make for him his ultimate favorite food - Chicken Curry!Instead of using dairy I use coconut milk or cream (diluted with water) and I make sure that the curry paste that I use don't have any of the offensive ingredients. Thankfully, both the Thai Kitchen and Maesri Brands of curry paste don't have anything in them that he cannot tolerate and so our curry fest continues! :-)
Though this is a red curry recipe, feel free to substitute it with a green curry paste if you prefer that. Also, because Fish sauce is fermented I only use salt to season this when I make if for him but if you want a more flavorful sauce and you are not allergic to fish sauce - by all means use the fish sauce. It makes a huge difference in taste! :-) Adjust the amount to your taste and always balance it with some sugar to achieve the perfect flavor. What's more this is such an easy dish to make and can be done in 30 minutes or less! Flavorful dish in no time!
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, chopped
3 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 lb boneless and skinless chicken breasts, chopped into 1-inch chunks
4-5 Tablespoons Thai Red (or Green) curry paste (I used the mild one - Thai Kitchen Brand, if using Maesri use only between 1-2 Tablespoons because it's very hot and spicy)
2 Tablespoons Fish sauce (or about 1 teaspoon salt or to taste)
1/2 - 1 Tablespoon Brown sugar (or to taste)
1 can Coconut Milk (light or regular)*
2 colored Bell Peppers, chopped or julienned*
Basil leaves (Thai or regular), a bunch
Freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice (a few drops) - optional
*I actually use the Coconut Cream in a carton (no preservatives and hopefully, healthier). It's in solid form so I use about half of it and dilute it with 1 glass (about 8 oz) water. But you can also use the canned one.
* In place of the bell peppers you can opt to use Japanese Eggplants (about 2 pieces, halved then sliced) or Thai Eggplants (about 8 pieces, tops removed then quartered)
In a deep pan, heat the oil. Sauté the chopped onions and garlic just until aromatic about 1 minute. Add the chicken pieces and sauté quickly. Stir in the red (or green) curry paste and coat the chicken pieces. Continue to stir-fry until the chicken chunks change its color.
Add the fish sauce (or salt) and brown sugar. Pour in the coconut milk and bring to a boil. If using the coconut cream, use only half the block and then add about 8oz water (or 1 glass) in the pan to help dilute the cream.
Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked and tender about 8-10 minutes.
When the chicken is tender, add the cubed eggplants and/or bell peppers (whichever you are using) and continue to simmer until veggies are tender but not mushy.
Adjust the seasoning if necessary by adding a bit more salt, sugar or fish sauce. If you think the sauce needs a little bit of a lift, a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice may help. Note though that a green curry is meant to be sweeter in taste compared to a red curry.
Finally, stir in the basil leaves. Don't omit the Basil leaves 'cause they do boost the taste! Enjoy with freshly boiled rice. :-)
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