Oh curry, how I love thee! Let me count the ways!
You are flexible. You’ll accommodate everything from green beans to butternut squash and everyone from meat eaters to vegetarians.
You are reliable. Whether summer or winter, you’re a dependable dish that is delicious any time of year.
You are forgiving. With just a few pantry staples you’re a sure thing. It’s virtually impossible to mess you up.
You are simple and straightforward. You might seem hard and tough on the outside, but you’re actually a cinch to make. Busted!
You are exciting and adventurous! Your flavor is complex, exotic and it lights up my taste buds!
Ok, ok. I’ll stop there. You get the idea. Curry is amazing! When I’m waxing poetic about my craziness for curry I often encounter people who tell me how much they dislike it. Here’s the thing. There are so many different kinds of curry, from different regions around the world, all with different flavors. If you’ve had a crippling curry experience, don’t give up! There is a curry dish out there that I know you will love. Perhaps it’s today’s recipe?!
So what is curry exactly?
I like to compare it to chili. There are an infinite number of chili recipes out there. You can have hot chili and mild chili. Chili with beef, turkey or only beans. Some people use ketchup, while others use tomato sauce. And, the type and amount of herbs and spices can be wildly different from recipe to recipe. The same goes for curry.
The two biggest distinctions are Indian versus Thai curry. Indian curry uses curry powder, a powder mix of coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, red pepper and other spices. Most Thai curry dishes use either a green or red curry paste in which the base is made up of red or green chili’s, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, ginger and other fragrant herbs and spices. Thai curry typically uses coconut milk where Indian curry does not. These are just the basics. As with chili, each region and family has their own unique spin on this adaptable dish.
Today’s Thai curry recipe packs a nutritional punch while being a very satisfying and fulfilling meal. Coconut oil and coconut milk are some of the few plant sources of lauric acid, also found in human breast milk, that enhance brain function and the immune system. They are also an excellent source of medium chain fatty acids, the kind that the body metabolizes into energy rather than storing as fat. Gotta love that! Don’t fall for the “reduce fat coconut milk.” It’s just thinned with water. Instead, buy the full fat kind and cut it with water yourself.
You can even take your curry up a notch on the nutritional scale by loading it up with a variety of veggies. Substituting a can of chickpeas for the meat is an easy way to turn this dish into the perfect vegetarian meal. Plus, this recipe is food allergy! It’s free of dairy, gluten, corn and nuts some of the more common food allergens. But, be warned! If you are eating curry in a restaurant chances are it’s not gluten free. Many places use soy sauce, which contains wheat. Ask your server before ordering!
So, have I convinced you that you must give curry a chance?
Great! Come see me at the farmers market today from 3-5 pm. I’ll be demonstrating this recipe and you can get a delicious bite. I promise you’ll be filling your bags with zucchini and running home to make this. I’ll see you there!
Thai Green Curry with Chicken and Zucchini
½ tablespoon coconut oil or butter
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 medium zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can full fat coconut milk
3 tablespoons green curry paste
1 pound boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon tamari
handful fresh Asian or Italian basil leaves, sliced
salt to taste
1 cup water, optional
- Pour the coconut milk into a large glass measuring pitcher or bowl. Add a can of water and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the onion and a pinch of salt. Stir until well combined and let the onion soften, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the zucchini and stir until it is coated in the oil and onion. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until the zucchini begins to soften a bit. Add the curry paste and stir until the zucchini is well coated. Continue to cook for about a minute until the curry paste becomes fragrant.
- Add the chicken, coconut milk, fish sauce and tamari. Raise the heat to medium high and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to a lively simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the zucchini is tender but still firm, about 8-10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the basil leaves. Give it a taste! You can add more curry paste, tamari or a pinch of salt if it needs more flavor. If adding more curry paste, be sure to squish it on the side of the pot with a spoon so it dissolves into the broth. Otherwise, someone will get a curry paste surprise! Serve over brown basmati rice and a side of cooled cucumber salad. Enjoy!
Cooking tip: If you prefer a thinner, more soup-like curry feel free to add some more water with the coconut milk. You can use eggplant in place of the zucchini or add shredded cabbage towards the end for an added crunch. If you want to reduce the cook-time even more pick up a whole roasted chicken instead of the raw chicken. Shred the meat and toss it in during step 4.