Chicken Thai Red Curry

This Thai Red Curry Recipe is fragrant and sumptuous, and can be made anywhere from mild to red-hot, depending on your taste. It starts with a homemade Thai red curry paste which is easily put together with your food processor or blender. Add coconut milk, chicken, and some vegetables, and you have a healthy and hearty curry dish that will awaken your senses and boost your mood. Note that although this dish would traditionally have been simmered over a fire or stovetop, we’ve adapted it to be cooked in the oven, allowing you to get on with your day. Feel free to use the traditional method if you prefer. ENJOY!

Note: To make a veg version, just substitute Chicken with some Tofu and add some more vegetables 🙂

INGREDIENTS
1 lb. chicken pieces, thigh or breast
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, sliced into small chunks
Optional: 1-2 cups chopped eggplant
2 kaffir lime leaves, OR substitute bay leaves
1/2 cinnamon stick (OR add 1/4 tsp. cinnamon to the sauce)
handfuls of fresh basil and fresh coriander
RED CURRY SAUCE:
1 can coconut milk
2-3 Tbsp. minced fresh lemongrass, OR bottled/frozen prepared lemongrass
1 shallots OR 1/4 cup purple onion, sliced
1 thumb-size piece ginger, grated
4-5 cloves garlic
1-2 fresh red chilies, sliced, OR 1/2 to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. tomato ketchup or tomato puree
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
1+1/2 to 2 Tbsp. chili powder, depending on how spicy you want it (North American chili powder from the supermarket)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1 Tbsp. brown sugar, to taste
1 tsp.shrimp paste OR 1 extra Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 75 minutes
Yield: SERVES 3-4 as a Main Entree

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set chicken pieces in a fairly large casserole dish.

Place all curry sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process well. Pour the curry sauce over chicken. Add chopped eggplant (if using), plus kaffir lime leaves/bay leaf and cinnamon stick, mixing everything into the sauce. Cover and bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Note: if you prefer more sauce, add 1/4 to 1/3 cup good-tasting chicken stock. (If you prefer to cook this curry on your stovetop, see instructions below*.)

Remove dish from oven. Add the bell pepper and tomato, stirring them into the sauce. Return curry to the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until both chicken and vegetables are well cooked.

Do a taste test, looking for a balance of flavors. If not salty or flavorful enough, add up to 1 Tbsp. more fish sauce. If too salty, add more fresh lime juice. If too sour, add a little more brown sugar. If too spicy, add more coconut milk. If not spicy enough, add a few fresh-cut chilies or dried crushed chili.

Transfer curry into a large serving bowl. Sprinkle generously with chopped fresh basil and coriander, and serve with plenty of Thai jasmine rice. ENJOY!

*Stovetop method: To cook this curry on your stovetop, simply combine sauce and chicken pieces (plus lime leaves and cinnamon) in a wok, deep frying pan, or large pot. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add vegetables and continue simmering another 15 minutes, or until both vegetables and chicken are cooked.