My daughter brought her boyfriend home recently and requested that I make green curry with chicken. I obliged, but wondered why she’s trying to impress him with my cooking instead of her own. Maybe she’s giving him a glimpse into his future if he marries her. Who knows?
Anyway, green curry is a dish I’ve been tinkering with for years. The older I get, the more flavor I want. The first version of this recipe I tried had a tablespoon of curry paste and a few drops of fish sauce. Unacceptable! It has evolved from mild, boring curry for timid Americans into a flavor explosion in your mouth (and sometimes guts, sorry for that).
- 2 pounds chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces.
- 3-4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
- 2-3 stalks lemon grass, just the white part in the middle, smashed. (I usually just smash them a bit, then let them cook in the curry sauce and take them out before serving. A lot of people chop them up, but I find them too fibrous to enjoy)
- Green curry paste to taste. You can make your own if you like, but I’m very happy with the quality of the paste made by Thai Kitchen. My original recipe called for just a dollop of curry, but now I basically use the entire 4 oz. jar. Experiment to see what you like best.
- Any veggies you like (Isn’t this recipe getting vague?) – I keep it pretty simple and just throw in some chopped bamboo shoots, but a Thai restaurant I frequent has a green curry with broccoli florets, peas, and eggplant! For the sake of simplicity, I’ll just keep it to canned (8 oz) bamboo shoots for now.
- 1 cup chicken broth.
- 2 (14 oz) cans coconut milk – Again, I like Thai Kitchen, because I find some other brands to be too watery. You can also use one can of coconut cream and 1 can milk for a decadent experience.
- Fish sauce to taste – I honestly don’t know how much I use. I give it a few shakes and taste it, then a few more and taste until it’s “right.”
- 2 cups fresh bean sprouts, blanched. (Put them in a colander and pour a kettle of boiling water over them. It softens them slightly, and eliminates most of the funk that can accumulate in the bag.)
- Stir fry garlic and lemon grass together in a wok or skillet until aromatic. I make this recipe enough to have a Pavlovian response to that smell.
- Add chicken pieces and stir fry until just barely done. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of time for doneness.
- Add the curry paste and stir fry until the meat is coated evenly and your kitchen smells like heaven.
- Add the coconut milk and chicken broth and let come to a boil. I usually add 1 can coconut milk, then the chicken broth and let it cook down a bit before adding the other can. It is a liquid, but should not be too thin.
- Add fish sauce and reduce to a simmer. Put a lid on the pot and let it cook for 10 minutes or so.
- Add bamboo shoots at the very end and let them warm through.
- Serve over white rice and top with fresh bean sprouts.
This amount will serve four and still have leftovers. Half it if your cooking for 1 or 2.