Weeknight Cooking: Thai Chicken, Zucchini and Tomato Curry

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.

F&W Thai Chicken, Zucchini & Tomato Curry

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.

Thai Chicken - Steaming Veggies

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.

Thai Chicken - Added Sauce

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.

F&W Thai Chicken, Zucchini & Tomato Curry

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

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