Quick Look_______________This recipe comes from Tim So:
Thai(esque) Green Curry Chicken [I apologize in advance for grossly misrepresenting what this dish is probably supposed to taste like in Thailand.]Thai Curry tastes good for pretty simple reasons: it's meaty, creamy,and armotic(-y). To that end, I like to make it a bit different than most people in our church like it (no offense to Bo, as this is based on her recipe plus one I found on F&W). Basically, it's mostly meat (surprise!).
- Prep time: 20 minutes
- Cook time: 1/2 - 1 hour
- Difficulty: Easy
- Labor Intensity: Could do by yourself, but 3-4 helpers would be good.
- 30 servings, adjust by 1.5x if your group tends to eat multiple servings.
- 8 pound boneless/skinless chicken meat (pref. breast, but dark will do dandy) (about $2/lb for chicken)
- 8 (19 oz.) can coconut milk (about $1.50 each at Ranch 99)
- 2 cups stock, broth, or msg/msg soup base (4 tsp)
- 8 average Chinese eggplant (.75 to 1 pound)
- 12 tbsp (3/4 cup) mae ploy curry paste + more to taste ($3 a jar)
- 12 tbsp (3/4 cup) sugar (or one half a circular palm sugar thing) + more to taste
- 12 tbsp (3/4 cup) fish sauce (I use 3 crabs brand) + more to taste
- Some* Thai basil, whatever that means!
- Total: about $30
- You will need a large stock pot.
- Heat coconut milk, curry paste, sugar, and fish sauce in a pot at medium heat. Stir occasionally to make sure it doens't burn to the bottom of your pot.
- Cut chicken into pieces. I generally aim for 1/4" x 1.5" strips.
- Cut the eggplant with a 45 degree bias, 1" thick. If they're too gigantor, cut these disks in half.
- Fry chicken with some oil (about 1 tbsp), however you want to do that. Get it brown, but you don't have to cook it all the way through. Tip: using a good wok requires less oil than a traditional frying pan. But since coconut milk has so much fat, it probably doesn't matter. Reserve the chicken and leave the oil/fat behind.
- Lightly stir-fry the eggplant in the leftover oils and fats. As soon as it looks like the fat has disappeared (i.e. been absorbed) remove the eggplant and reserve. Deglaze the pan with the stock, reduce until thick, and pour the flavorful bits into the coconut milk. Note: deglazing means pouring the liquid into the pan while it's still hot and scraping up all the junk on the bottom of the pan: it tastes good. If you're using MSG instead of stock, use water and then add the msg to the coconut milk.
- Adjust the flavor of the coconut milk with fish sauce, curry, and sugar. Add curry if it's not aromatic enough. Add fish sauce if it's bland. Add sugar if you want more sugar. If it's not creamy enough, turn up the heat until it's bubbling and wait for the curry to reduce (if you use Mae Ploy coconut milk you probably will never encounterthe "not creamy" problem). Add reserved eggplant once you've settled on the flavor.
- When the eggplant looks like it's getting tender, add the chicken and gently simmer until everything is just cooked (try getting a big chunk of chicken and splitting it in two to check). Reduce heat to low or keep warm setting. If it looks more like a big pile of eggplant and chicken instead of the Thai curry that you're used to, congratulations!
- Wilt some fresh thai basil in the curry just before serving. How much should you use? I have no idea since I never measured it! Use enough, but not too much.
- Optional: If you have tons of money you want to discard, or want a more authentic recipe, slice the tender part of 1/2 lemon grass stalk and a kaffir leaf. Add them to the mixture at the same time as the eggplant. I find I can get good approximation of the subtle citrus highlights these impart with lime zest, lime juice, and sugar (do all these things to taste). Or forget about it and just add more meat (my personal recommendation).
Tom's Tips and Tricks_______________
I would suggest using Mae Ploy Coconut milk over Chaokoh coconut milk. It's much more creamier and results in a better flavor.
Adding more curry will not necessarily add more flavor, it will just make the curry spicier. If you want it more flavorful, add more fish sauce. If you want it less spicy, add less curry paste.
[Possible side dish] rice and salad