This is a basic weekday dinner curry which we love. Its just the thing for a cold, wintery night. It might seem like there are a lot of ingredients but if you do a weekly shop and have a few things in your store cupboard you should find it easy. The heat depends on what brand of curry paste you use. Supermarket brands such as Amoy tend to be very mild, whereas the great value tub of curry paste from Asian or Chinese stores are hotter. If you don’t like much heat, use half the amount, you can always add more later. The full fat coconut milk reduces the heat in the curry.
2 small chicken fillets (about 225g in total), cut across the grain into ½ cm strips
1 large red pepper
1 medium onion
1 carrot (optional)
2 tbs nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
2 medium courgettes
Juice of 1 lime
1 rounded tbs Thai green curry paste (red or yello will do if you don’t have green)
165 ml can full fat (NOT low fat) coconut milk
Optional: handful of fresh coriander leaves (or you could use basil or Thai basil leaves)
For the rice:
100g/half mug brown basmati rice
275ml/1 mug boiling water
¼ level tsp ground turmeric
- Put a large, heavy bottomed pan on a medium heat and to this add your curry paste and the thick part of the tin of coconut milk. Mix to combine and let it cook gently while you put on the rice and prepare the vegetables. If you are not familiar with cooking brown rice, see my blog post on “how to cook brown rice”. When the mixture has sizzled for a few minutes, add the rest of the tin of coconut milk plus 1 tin of water (ideally filtered) from the tap.
- Scrape or peel the carrot and slice on the diagonal into pieces about ½ cm thick. Add to the pan. Peel the onion and chop roughly into 2cm cubes, add to the pan. Add the 2 tbs of fish sauce and mix well. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes while you prep the red pepper by removing anything that isn’t red, and cutting into 2cm diamond shapes. Add this to the pan, stir, cover and simmer while you slice the courgettes into 1.5cm disks. Add these to the pan, cover and simmer for another few minutes until the courgette has softened slightly but still holding their shape.
- Now add your raw chicken pieces, stirring them gently in to coat with the sauce. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time to make sure there are no large lumps of uncooked meat slices. When the meat is opaque, it is cooked.
- Add the lime juice and stir gently.
- Serve sprinkled with coriander or basil leaves, with the rice to accompany.
- Use cubes of salmon or any firm white fish (about 300g for 2 people) instead of the chicken. When adding the fish, make sure to coat it in the sauce but try not to stir during the cooking process so it won’t break up. When the flesh is opaque, its cooked (takes about 5 minutes)
- For a vegetarian version, use 250 plain non-gmo tofu, cut into 1cm cubes, instead of the meat or fish – these can be added along with the peppers or courgettes.
- Use 250g pak choi, sliced in 5cm lengths, instead of the courgettes, and add along with the fish – both only take about 5 minutes to cook in the covered pan.
- You could also substitute red or yellow curry paste for the green
Why this is good for you:
Herbs and spices such as galangal, chilli, lemongrass and turmeric offer a fantastic health boost. They help your skin by enhancing liver function, their antioxidant qualities delay the ageing process (wrinkles, senior moments!), and they soothe the digestive system. Yes, counter-intuitively, even chillies have anti-inflammatory effects. Orange/red vegetables provide beta carotene to protect eyesight, give you a healthy golden skin colour and can even help clear up acne. Onions are a rich source of soluble fibre that feeds good bacteria in your gut to help mood, digestion and more. Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides, a type of fat that your body burns efficiently for energy instead of storing it as fat. Good news if you want to stay lean and trim. The proportions of meat to rice to vegetables in this recipe is optimal, meaning your body can function more efficiently, giving you more energy, better digestion and increased vitality. For optimum health, lunches and dinners contain no more than 25% starchy carbs (brown rice, potatoes, brown pasta etc). Any more and you will be short changing yourself on o veggies, protein or healthy fats. Happy 2014!