Thai Night Redux

So Lolly’s naturopathic doctor put her on a rather annoying elimination diet aimed at determining whether she is allergic to dairy, gluten or any number of other nefarious substances.  She brought home a list of all the things that she has to avoid eating for 30 days.  Holy mackerel!  My initial response when I read the list was “How in the world do you expect me to cook around that?”  (For the record, Lolly can eat mackerel, holy or otherwise – it wasn’t on the list).  Being the ever-dutiful hubby that I am, I started combing through cookbooks looking for suitable options to accommodate my sweetie for 30 long, dark, dreary, culinarily-stunted days.

It didn’t take me long to conclude that Thai food actually lines up pretty well with her dietary restrictions, in part because instead of dairy products it makes liberal use coconut milk in soups and curries.  If, like us, you spend any amount of time in Thai restaurants, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve sampled tonight’s dish, Massamun curry chicken. It’s a long-time favorite of ours.

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This is actually a supremely quick and easy option, as long as you can lay hands on a few off-the-beaten-path ingredients that are most likely available at your local Asian market. Luckily, we denizens of the Cincinnati metro area have access to Jungle Jim’s International Market, so I can find pretty much any weird thing you can think of (including fresh emu eggs at $45 a pop, if that’s your thing).  Anyway, here are your ingredients to make 4 hearty servings.

  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil
  • ½ cup Massamun curry paste
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breast, thinly sliced across the grain
  • 12 oz. potato, cut into ½” cubes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • ½ cup roasted, unsalted cashews
  • 1 cup water or chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp. tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp. sugar or agave nectar
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Fresh Thai basil for garnish
  • Cooked jasmine rice

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In a deep skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium flame, and stir in the curry paste. Whisk in the coconut milk until the paste is completed blended.  Add the chicken slices and bring the mixture up to a boil, then back it down to a simmer.  Stir in the potato cubes, onion, cashews and water/stock, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, which should only take about 15 minutes.  Finish the dish by stirring in the tamarind and the sugar/agave, and adjust the seasoning with Kosher salt.

Now you’re ready to plate up with some cooked jasmine rice (or wicked, nasty, foul, heinous brown rice for people on annoying elimination diets – just sayin’).  Either way, sprinkled some chopped fresh Thai basil on top, and do what we came here to do – munch it down with a big happy grin on your face.  This recipe has a pleasant blend of sweet and spicy, with enough chunky goodness to satisfy.  By all means give it a try – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Until next we meet: Eat well, my friends!

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