Almost everything I make turns out pretty tasty, but once in a while I make something that just completely knocks my socks off. As in, I could eat it every meal of every day for at least a week straight and still want more. This was one of those times.
I know, those of you who know me best are thinking, are you kidding? Curry? That’s the one and only food Jess does not like. And it’s true. Or it was. Until I made this dish.
I’ve never liked curry, and I’ve never particularly given it much of a chance. I’ve had it only a couple times, in circumstances where I had to be polite and eat what was put in front of me. I’m not sure what it is about it, but it always makes my stomach turn and even the smell of it usually makes me instantly nauseous. (I stay far, far away from the Whole Foods hot bar).
We all know I love my jalapenos, sprinkle everything with cayenne and red pepper flakes, and when it comes to Buffalo wings, the hotter the better. So it’s not the spiciness like it is for many people. Something about the sweet, very distinctly curry smell just does me in.
You’re probably wondering by this point why on earth I decided to make curry when I have such a strong aversion to it. Well… remember the goodie box my mom sent me? One of the mystery ingredients inside was a can of coconut milk.
When I saw it, I immediately thought of Thai chicken soup and was super excited (I love love love Thai food of the non-curried variety). So I Googled a few Thai soup recipes and found that they all had 3 main ingredients in common. First, coconut milk. Check! The other two weren’t so easy. Lemongrass and kafir lime leaves. I can’t even find pine nuts in Enid, OK, so I sure as hell wasn’t going to find lemongrass or kafir lime leaves.
I shed a little tear, and then went back to Google to find out what else I could make with coconut milk. What did Google give me? A couple desserts and hundreds of curry recipes. Drats.
That’s when I decided to be brave. I hate not liking foods. I used to hate blue cheese, but I forced myself to eat it over and over, starting small with wings dipped in blue cheese dressing, and slowly working my way up to Gorgonzola sprinkled salads. Now I love the stuff and it’s probably in my top 10 favorite foods. Same story with walnuts and beets. So maybe, just maybe, I could teach myself to like curry.
I found one of the least offensive sounding recipes I could, and went to town.
Coconut Curry Thai Chicken
(adapted from Food Network)
makes 4 servings
- 1 can coconut milk
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- dash cayenne
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small pieces
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 cup roasted red peppers, thinly sliced
- 1 cup water chestnuts, thinly sliced
- 1 cup scallions, thinly sliced
- chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
- lime wedges, for serving
- rice or noodles, for serving
In a bowl, combine all sauce ingredients, whisk together and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes.
Add the chicken and stir in curry powder. Saute chicken until lightly brown.
Add peanut butter and let it melt over the chicken.
Add the roasted red peppers, water chestnuts, and scallions. Season with salt & pepper and saute a couple minutes to release flavors.
Pour the coconut milk sauce over the mixture and lightly stir until everything is evenly coated. Cook until warmed through and thickened a bit, about 3-5 minutes.
Serve topped with chopped cilantro and lime wedges.
Oh. My. Gosh. This was so delicious. I truly don’t know why I liked it so much, or why the curry didn’t bother me this time. But it was awesome! And Nick loved it too… he said it was his favorite thing I’ve ever made. So I guess, for now, I like curry! I’ll have to give it a try at a restaurant again sometime… might be a while, though, I don’t think there’s too much Indian or Thai food in Enid. For now, I’ll be on the lookout for other creative curry recipes!