Since I’m in a heated battle with my love handles, I’m returning to stir fry in a major way. Or maybe I just love the simplicity and ease of the one-pot-meal and I love rice. Whatever. There are vegetables in it and it’s good for you.
In the latest Food & Wine Magazine, they’ve published a few stir fry meals. I wasn’t too sure about this one because it calls for a store bought red curry paste, and for some reason I just feel like I’m cheating if I’m not making the paste. I suppose I could, since the Keo’s book I talked about has a recipe for a red curry paste, but I was in a hurry. I already owned red curry paste for the Peanut Chicken, so I may as well give it another reason to exist in my fridge.
Originally, I had intended to take more pictures for this, but I had problems with my rice. I didn’t want to face the Judges’ table explaining why my dish went down for undercooked rice, so I remade it. By the time that was done, I was starving and had completely forgotten to take a finished picture, so here’s the one from the Food & Wine website.
This one cooks up fast. Not as fast as yesterday’s Vietnamese Stir-Fry with Lemongrass, but almost.
Thai Chicken, Zucchini & Tomato Curry
Courtesy of Food & Wine Magazine
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, sliced crosswise 1/3 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 zucchini (1 pound), cut into 2-by-1/2-inch sticks
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons water
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Rice, for serving
I cut the ingredients in half since I was only serving two, and had just enough for the both of us.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat until just white throughout, 2 minutes.
For the chicken, I only used 1 breast. I cut it horizontally, then made short strips. I also didn’t take pictures of this, because I figure that by now, everyone knows what chicken looks like when you put it into the frying pan. Because I typically put my stir-fry into a bowl, I don’t like to wrestle with a knife while I eat, so I made sure the chicken was in bite sized pieces.
Plate the chicken and add the remaining oil to the skillet. Add the onion and stir-fry over medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes. The directions say moderately high heat, but I always do everything on medium. If I crank anything up over medium, I burn everything because my back is turned while I’m trying to cut up the rest of the vegetables.
Add the zucchini and cherry tomatoes and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
I’m a sucker for zucchini. Did I tell you that?
Anyway, when the 2 minutes are up (sometimes I use a timer if my attention goes elsewhere, otherwise I burn things) stir in the curry paste, coconut milk, water, lime zest and lime juice and bring to a simmer.
The lime is important and gives the sauce some much needed acid and zip. I’m not a big fan of lime so I was a little skeptical, but after I did it and tasted the sauce, I understood fully why it was in there. Don’t omit the lime.
Add the chicken and stir for 20 seconds, to coat with the sauce. Stir in the cilantro. Transfer to bowls and serve with (properly cooked) rice.
Overall, the dish was delicious, healthy and pretty damn fast. This one is, without a doubt, going into my weeknight repertoire. One thing to note for those who don’t do well with spice — the amount of red curry paste the dish calls for, depending on what brand you use — leaves a bit of heat in this. I wasn’t sure if I was happy about it on first bite, but I warmed up to it and, on the subsequent mouthfuls that followed, was fine with it. Absolutely delicious and tasted like something I would get if I had ordered it from a Thai restaurant. Aroi maak, maak! (Very delicious!)
Weeknight Cooking: A
Overall Dish: A