Monday, September 13, 2010

From a cold nose to an Asian stew

It seems that summer is saying good-bye to those of us in New England. I left my bedroom windows open on Saturday night and reality hit when I awoke Sunday morning with a cold nose and a strong desire for my electric blanket. My first thought was that I needed to do some shopping for fall clothes. But then I quickly switched gears and realized it's once again time for some comfort food. I have to admit I've been getting tired of the grilled fish and salad routine and the thought of spending time in the kitchen was more enticing than looking at clothing styles I don't even like. So I perused my pantry and decided to make a variation of my mom's stewed chicken. An Asian variation. I've had this half-used jar of Thai Red Curry Paste in my fridge that became the inspiration for this stew/soup. The dish turned out milder than I expected due to the rich coconut milk, but very tasty. And with the possibilities of additional spices and different vegetables this is a versatile meal that you can adjust depending on who you're dining with. Also, I had all the ingredients at home, but they are readily available in the Asian aisle of most supermarkets, and their shelf lives are long lasting. And one more thing, this recipe is simple and quick. The only work I did was chop the garlic, open a few cans and pre-washed vegetables in bags. And did I mention this meal is delicious?

Red Curry Chicken and Vegetable Stew

1 T canola oil
3/4 cup onion finely chopped (I use the frozen already chopped-no more tears)
1 T Thai Red Curry Paste (comes in a 4 oz jar)
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 cup lite coconut milk (it comes in a can)
1 14.5 oz can 99% fat free chicken broth
2 T fish sauce (in the Asian aisle)
1 T brown sugar
1 tsp salt
4 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
1 15 oz can cut baby corn drained
1 12oz bag green beans, halved
8 oz sliced mushrooms
juice of 1/2 lemon

2 cups cooked brown rice

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes until translucent and softened. Add curry paste and garlic and cook one minute. Do not let the garlic burn. Add coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce, sugar and salt. Bring mixture to a boil. Add the chicken, cover and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook 30 minutes. Add vegetables and cook 10 minutes more. Turn off heat and remove chicken to a separate plate. Squeeze in the lemon juice and stir. I like to shred the chicken so I let it cool slightly and once shredded I add it back to the soup/stew. I serve this in bowls with a half cup of brown rice piled in the center. If I had cilantro I'd have sprinkled it as a garnish.

As I mentioned earlier, if you're looking for heat, you can do a lot to this recipe to fire it up since the coconut milk does tame it. I'd add 1/2 tsp of ground cayenne pepper or 1 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes when you're cooking the garlic. A teaspoon of Sambal Olek garnish on top of the rice is a nice touch too. Now let's talk about the various veggies you can use. How about sliced zucchini, sno peas, bok choy, canned bamboo shoots, canned water chestnuts or carrot rounds?

However you make this Red Curry Stew, I bet you'll see clean plates all around. Enjoy!

No comments: