Red Vegetable Curry with Hot Chicken

Thai food is my latest obsession. Once I discovered just how easy it is to make curry sauce, it was off to the races. This dish is really two dishes and takes a bit of prep work, but it is worth the time and energy, and it reheats like a dream which makes it a great weeknight dinner to be prepped ahead of time.

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 cup brown rice

For the curry:
Olive Oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange), sliced
1/2 pound Crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 can of full fat coconut milk (I like Thai Kitchen)
1 tablespoon red curry paste (again, I like Thai Kitchen)

For the chicken:
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
3-4 Thai chilies or Serrano peppers (if you like things very spicy, add a few more)
Handful of basil

1. Prepare the rice according to the package instructions and place to the side. This can be done up to 12 hours in advance– rice that’s been prepared a few hours prior will absorb flavors more easily.

2. For the curry, heat a large skillet with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat.

3. Add the onion, and turmeric to the skillet once it is hot. Let sit for 1-2 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Then, add garlic, cook until fragrant.

4. Add the bell pepper and mushrooms, turning the heat to medium. Once these are soft, 3-5 minutes, add red curry paste and coconut milk. Stir to combine, bring the heat down, and allow the curry to simmer at a low heat.

5. For the chicken, warm a medium skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.

6. Carefully de-seed the chilies and finely chop. Add the chilies to the skillet once the oil has heated up.

7. As the chilies are warming up, slice the chicken thighs into small pieces– the size is up to you, I like to cut them into strips so that they easily mix into the rice and curry.

8. Add chicken to the skillet, mixing with the chilies. Once the chicken is fully cooked, turn the burner off and add the basil, mixing it in and allowing it to wilt slightly, but do not let it cook.

9. When you are ready, combine rice, the vegetable curry, and the hot chicken in a bowl and enjoy!

Notes:

  • Substitute baked tofu for the chicken if you are a vegetarian or vegan– bake beforehand and add to the skillet to warm up after peppers have cooked for 3-5 minutes.
  • Add whatever vegetables you prefer! Broccoli, kale, and carrots would all be delicious in here.
  • Thai curry traditionally calls for fresh ginger, but I left it out the first time I made this and enjoyed it so much that I’ve never used it. If you want to include ginger, it should be about an inch of fresh ginger root, peeled and minced, then added with the turmeric, onions, and garlic.
  • Be very careful when handling hot peppers! When de-seeding, use a spoon to get the seeds out rather than your fingers, wash your hands after handling them (and before touching anything), and use a vent if you have one while cooking. The oils released when cooking hot peppers can make you sneeze/cough or tear up, similar to chopping an onion.

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