Thai Soup

2 lemongrass stalks, bottom 2/3 of stalks beaten with a tenderizer to release flavor

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 (3 inch) piece fresh ginger root, pealed and chopped

4 cups chicken broth

2 lbs. chicken, cut into bite size strips

4 tsp. red curry paste

3 Tbsp. fish sauce

1 Tbsp. lime juice

2 cans coconut cream

1 Tbsp. dried cilantro flakes

(opt. chopped carrots, peppers, potatos cubed)

Stir the lemon grass, garlic, ginger, and broth in a large pot.  Bring to a boil and than on a medium-low simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Strain the chicken broth into a bowl and set aside.  Discard lemon grass, garlic, and ginger.  Place the chicken in the pot and cook for 5 minutes.  Stir in red curry paste, fish sauce, and lime juice until combined.  Stir in chicken broth and coconut cream.  (If you’re adding potatoes, carrots, or other ‘harder’ garnishes put them in now.)  Return to a simmer and cook another 15-20 minutes.  Remove from heat and add in cilantro.  Serve with rice. . . or add the rice right in the soup.

Thai Curry or Massaman

I had the opportunity to take a Thai cooking class.  The biggest thing I learned during the class is that making Thai food is really easy as long as you have the right ingredients.  This recipe was delicious and totally filled the hubby’s Thai cravings.  We’re trying to eat better and Brett’s trying to do better about not buying lunch.  Win. Win.  :)  You don’t have to follow the recipe exactly.  I changed the original recipe we learned in the class to fit our preferences.  You’ll love it!  Kaffir lime leaf, curry and massaman paste, and galangal can all be found at an Asian Market.  I had never been to one before.  It was a little hard to find my way around the store, but eventually got everything I needed in bulk so I can make lots of Thai food:).   This recipe makes approximately 18 cups, so plenty for company or lunches for the week.  I carefully measured and weighed everything and added up the calories.  210 calories per cup!  Awesome, huh!  (This does not include the rice or nuts)

Thai Curry or Massaman

2 Tbsp. oil

2 cloves garlic minced

2 lb. chicken (finely cut into strips)

2 lb. (3 cups) potatoes or sweet potatoes cubed

3 Tbsp. curry or masaman paste (depending on what taste you want)

1 red, orange, and yellow medium bell peppers chopped in strips

1 small onion cut in big chunks

2 cans chicken broth

1 can (17.8oz) coconut cream

1 can (13.5oz) coconut milk

1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. fish sauce

1 Kaffir lime leaf

1 slice of galanghal OR ginger (Ginger is for masaman and galangal is for the curry)

salt and/or sugar to taste

1 cup cashews or peanuts

In a large pot cook the chicken in the oil and minced garlic cloves. Once cooked I drained it to get rid of excess oils, than placed back in pot.  Add curry or masaman paste and cook until chicken is fully immersed, stirring constantly.  Add onions and cook another minute.  Stir in the coconut cream and milk, broth, potatoes, and fish sauce.  Place in the Kaffir leaf and the root (galanghal for curry, ginger for masaman) but remove before serving. At any point you can add the nuts, depending on how crunchy you want them. Bring to a boil and then turn to a simmer until potatoes are tender.  Serve over rice.

Notes:  Next time I want to add less potatoes and maybe put in some carrots.

Curry in a Hurry

Today I was visiting with a friend of mine.  It was 4 o’clock and our kids were busy playing.   She asked what I was making for dinner tonight and I had no idea.  This is a frequent occurrence, and I’m sure I’m not alone.  She gave me her box of Golden Curry Sauce Mix and told me I should try it out.  I was very pleasantly pleased with the easy goodness it provided.  I really love all my curry recipes but I know that most good curry’s require a lot of ingredients and some devoted time.  Today I stepped into my kitchen at 5PM with a baby hanging out at my feet and occasionally in my arms and miraculously a nice curry dinner was ready to eat at 5:40.  Voila!  I now have a new product that I will be keeping in my cupboard for last minute meals.  So, here’s what I did:

Curry in a Hurry

2-3 lbs. Chicken Cubed

3 potatoes peeled and cubed

3 Tbsp. butter

1/4 cup onions chopped

14 oz. can of coconut milk

1/2 empty coconut can of water

1/2 red pepper sliced

1/2 green pepper sliced

chopped carrots or other veggies (optional)

3.5 oz Golden Curry Sauce Mix

Put chopped onions, butter, chicken, and potato into a large skillet and stir-fry for 3-5 minutes.  Add other vegetables, coconut milk, and water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover the skillet, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the chicken and potatoes are tender.  Break the Curry Sauce Mix into pieces, put into the skillet, and stir until it has melted into the mixture.  Now let it simmer again for five minutes and serve it hot over rice or noodles.  Yumm!

Simple Coconut Chicken with rice and carrots

I recently started grocery shopping smart using www.dealstomeals.com  It’s awesome!  They’re not nationwide yet, but I think they’re spreading in 2013.  The website price matches using several local stores and lets you know what the best price is for everything. They also provide meal plans and recipes that go along with the best price steals of the week.  I tried this recipe out, with a lot of hesitation, because it actually seemed to easy to be a good curry.  It was great!  No, it wasn’t gourmet or the best curry recipe I have, but its EASY and worthy of scooping up seconds.  It is Brett approved too (my hubby is really picky) which says a lot.  Good luck and happy cooking!

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Simple Coconut Chicken with rice and carrots

2 T. olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
2 T. onion, minced
1 T. minced garlic
15oz. Can light coconut milk
1 1/2 c. brown rice (or white rice)
2 c. carrots, cut into bite sized pieces
2 T. curry powder
2 T. brown sugar (optional if you like sweet & savory flavor)
Salt & pepper to taste
Dash of cayenne pepper

In a Dutch oven or heavy duty sauce pan, heat the olive oil, then
sauté the chicken pieces with the minced onion and minced garlic
until they are brown on all sides.
Pour in the coconut milk with 2 cups HOT water. Bring to bubbling
and then add the rice, carrots, curry powder and brown sugar.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook for
45 minutes, or until the brown rice is fork tender. (Cook for 18 to 20
minutes if using white rice.)
Remove from the heat to prevent overcooking the rice. Let cool
slightly before serving. Serves 4.

**Note:  I’ve posted the recipe exactly as it appeared on deals to meals.  When I made it I added cashews just before serving and I think it made all the difference.  Cashews just make everything better:)

Best Thai Coconut Soup

I’m not a huge fan of complicated recipes, but every once in a while it’s fun to do something out of the norm. I attempted this dish tonight and was pleased. It was very good and sweet. Brett is slightly obsessed with Thai food lately, so it’s nice having another dish that I can make. The nice thing is it’s mild enough that our boys ate it too. Noah seemed to like it a lot and had two bowls. I’ve put in the recipe exactly as it’s written on allrecipes.com, and put my own notes underneath.

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Best Thai Coconut Soup
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 stalk lemon grass, minced
2 teaspoons red curry paste
4 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
3 (13.5 ounce) cans coconut milk
1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 pound medium shrimp – peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir the ginger, lemongrass, and curry paste in the heated oil for 1 minute. Slowly pour the chicken broth over the mixture, stirring continually. Stir in the fish sauce and brown sugar; simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and mushrooms; cook and stir until the mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp; cook until no longer translucent about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice; season with salt; garnish with cilantro.

My notes: I did not put in mushrooms. Instead of shrimp I used two large chicken breasts. Lemon grass was really hard to find, but I tracked down some dried cut up lemon grass at a health food store. I put in apx 2 Tbsp. I liked the flavor of the lemon grass, but next time I’ll strain out the grass pieces floating before I eat it, because I didn’t like the texture (Brett didn’t mind it). I could not find red curry paste anywhere (if you know where to find some let me know!) Instead I used about 2 Tbsp hot curry powder and added some ketchup and lime juice as a substitute. The fresh ginger was great! This was the first time I ever cooked with fresh ginger and now I want to only use fresh from now on. I poured it over rice and it was delicious!

Cashew Chicken

This recipe is definitely a keeper! I followed the original recipe exactly (allrecipes.com) and the result was excellent, but Brett and I decided to add a few things to make it exceptional. I can’t decide if the recipe is more Asian or Thai tasting. All I know is that I’ll be making it again.

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Cashew Chicken
4 chicken breast halves, cut into pieces
1 tsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp. oil
2 cup hot chicken broth
2 tsp. lemon juice
apx. 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cashews

**opt. add 2-4 Tbsp peanut butter in with brown sugar

Combine sugar, 2 Tbsp cornstarch, salt, soy sauce, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Marinade chicken pieces in this mixture overnight (or for at least an hour). Drain and save marinade; then stir fry chicken in hot oil in frying pan or wok until chicken is lightly brown and tender, about 10 minutes. remove chicken from oil and drain excess oil from the pan. Add remaining cornstarch and marinade. Blend well, then add chicken broth to the pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook until slightly thickened (about the consistency of warm syrup. Add lemon juice and brown sugar; add chicken pieces and reheat. Do not boil. Taste to correct seasonings. Add cashews. Serve over hot rice.

We added some asparagus. . .mmmm

(revised Mar. 4, 2012)

Thai Chicken Satay

Brett has a slight obsession with Thai food.  He loves it! So, he looked up a recipe and I told him I’d make it, with some alterations, of course.  It turned out really good.  I was impressed at how fast and easy it was too.  Something I will definitely make again, except next time I think I’ll double the recipe.

Thai Chicken Satay

1/2 cup canned coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 teaspoon fish sauce (found in asian foods section)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into strips
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped unsalted peanuts
12 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 15 minutes
Thai peanut sauce (We got ours from Pampered Chef)

In a medium bowl, stir together the coconut milk, ground coriander, curry powder, fish sauce, brown sugar, minced garlic, and chili oil. Add the chicken breast strips, and stir to coat. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, and up to 2 hours.  Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill for high heat. Thread the chicken strips onto skewers. Discard marinade.  Grill chicken for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until no longer pink. Time will depend on how thick your strips are. Transfer to a serving plate, and garnish with cilantro and peanuts. Serve with peanut sauce for dipping.

Personal Notes:  I used the remainder of the coconut milk to boil some rice in. Yumm!  NEVER smell fish sauce, otherwise you will refuse to put it in your food.  We didn’t measure the peanut sauce, but just poured it over the rice and chicken when we were about to eat.

Yumm! Happy Cooking!