On cold day, hot and spicy food is a perfect way to warm up from the inside out. Tulsa’s Cheese Wench and co-host of OKfoodie, Chef Amanda Simcoe, offers her “Thai One On” menu as a way to warm up, lift your spirits and enjoy some fabulous food.
Thai food is known for its spicy kick and the use of some key ingredients. Although regular grocery stores like Reasor’s may have some items, all can be found at Asian markets, like Nam-Hai in Tulsa.
In case you’re not familiar, here is a brief description of some common Thai ingredients that will be used in this recipe.
- Red Curry Sauce – Can be found commercially, but the homemade version is so much better and easy to make.
- Thai Eggplants – A small eggplant (1-2 inches diameter) that can vary in color from white to green. It is crunchier than larger varieties, but still has that slightly bitter flavor.
- Thai Basil – Has a stronger, sweeter aroma and flavor than Italian basil and is easy to spot because of its distinctive purple stems.
- Cilantro – Used often in Mexican and Latin American cuisine, this herb is also widely used in Thai food.
- Galangal – Often called “Thai ginger,” this root has a creamy white flesh and a shiny outer skin. It is also more peppery hot than ginger.
- Kecap Manis – A dark brown, syrupy soy sauce that is sweeter than regular soy sauce.
- Nam Pla – A very salty, fermented fish sauce that has a strong odor, but is essential in Thai cooking.
- Terasi – Shrimp paste that comes in cake form and can vary in color and texture. It is made by grinding up fermented shrimp. Since it is very strong, a little goes a long way.
- Thai Chilies – A tiny chile that can vary in color, but all are fiery hot, even after cooking.
- Kaffir Lime Leaves – Native to Hawaii and Southeast Asia, Kaffir limes are small yellowish-green and bumpy. The leaves are the only part of the lime used in cooking. They are dark green and resemble two leaves joined together back to back.
- Coconut Cream – Not to be confused with cream of coconut, which is used in desserts and fruity drinks. Coconut cream is very similar to coconut milk, but contains less water, so it is thicker.
- Lemon grass – Actually an herb, lemon grass has a long, woody stem and gray-green leaves. The lemony essence and taste come from an essential oil that can also be found in lemon peel.
Check out Chef Amanda’s recipes for Thai Beef Noodle Soup and Banana Spring Rolls too.
Thai Red Chicken Curry
- 6 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
- 6 small Thai eggplants, sliced
- 30 green beans
- 1 yellow onion, sliced into half-moons
- 2 cups bean sprouts,
- Sliced bamboo shoots
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 6 cups cooked long-grain rice
- 1 Recipe Red Curry Sauce (below)
- For Garnish: Thai basil, scallions, chives, lime wedges, cilantro
Red Curry Sauce
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 thumb-size piece galangal, peeled and sliced (or substitute ginger)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon kecap manis
- 2 tablespoons nam pla
- 1 teaspoon terasi
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons chile sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 heaping tablespoon whole coriander seeds
- 1-2 Thai chiles, depending on how spicy you want it, OR 3/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chili or cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 1 Tbsp. whole cumin seeds
- 2 kaffir lime leaves
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 can coconut milk or coconut cream
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 3-in piece of lemongrass, cut in half lengthwise
In a food processor, combine the sauce ingredients (except the lemongrass, galangal, coconut milk and kaffir leaves). Process into a paste. In a pan, heat the coconut oil. Add the curry paste and cook over medium heat, stirring continuously for 1-2 minutes. Add the coconut milk and stir to combine. Add the chicken, vegetables, lemongrass, galangal and lime leaves. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through. Serve with rice and garnish.
Makes 6-8 servings