With all of this time on my hands from the Shelter-In-Place, I’ve been having a lot of fun making different things in the kitchen! Some of them are new ideas, some are old faves, and some are trying tweaks and substitutions. Last week I needed to go to the store and stock up on a few things, and while I was there, I noticed that the produce department was overflowing with fresh fruits and veggies! I grabbed zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, lemongrass, cilantro, bell pepper, onions, ginger, and just a ton of other goodies. And can you guess what I was planning to make for dinner that night? Green curry!
Thai curry is one of those things that is straight up comfort food. Not quite like Mac and cheese, pot pies, or fried chicken, but it still gives you that classic home-cooked feeling where you can taste the love and passion. It’s spicy, warm, hearty, and filled to the brim with fresh produce. Healthy and delicious, and also easier than you may think to make – so what’s stopping you?
There are two ways to make curry – from scratch, or from a pre-made paste. There is no shame in using a store-bought paste, I promise. Just make sure that you find one that you like the heat level of, and that doesn’t have too much salt. My favorite paste is actually the Safeway store brand. It’s unassuming but packs a whollop of tongue-tingling spice and flavor. Bright lemongrass, ginger, and basil are on the forefront with a nice sting from Thai chilis that lingers in the back of your throat. It’s absolutely delicious.
If you’re making it from scratch, you can expect to put in a little more work while getting a curry base that you have complete control over. I prefer to make my own, but sometimes you just don’t have the right ingredients or the time, so I always keep a little jar in my fridge just in case I have a short-notice craving.
One of the other things that I love about any kind of Thai curry in general, is that there really isn’t a set recipe or list of ingredients that have to be in it. The only things that are truly consistent is that it’s coconut milk-based, has some kind of spice, and has a handful of different veggies. It also traditionally has fish sauce in it. However, Andy absolutely hates fish sauce (or anything related to the sea, for that matter) and I’m not allowed to have it in the house. Little does he know, that his beloved Worcestershire sauce has anchovies in it, and I use it as a substitute fairly often. **shh… don’t tell him**
This recipe has bell peppers, zucchinis, mushrooms, onion and serranos, but you can easily swap any of those out with eggplant, spinach, kale, shallots, shrimp… really anything you want. You can also serve it with anything too! Delicious when served over a side of lemongrass-scented white rice or even converted into a full-fledged soup with rice noodles, this dish is always a winner and the perfect way to brighten up being stuck at home.
Loaded Green Curry
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 2 – 3 Tbsp. green curry paste
- 2 2-inch pieces of lemongrass, outer layer discarded and smashed with knife
- 1/2 inch pece peeled ginger, minced
- 1 medium red or white onion, sliced into strips; divided
- 2 c. chicken stock
- A few dashes fish sauce or Worcestershire sauce
- 1 can coconut milk, whatever fat content you prefer
- Juice from half a lime
- 1 large handful cilantro
- 1 small handful basil (about half as much as the cilantro)
- 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
- 1 medium green bell pepper, sliced
- 2 medium-to-small chicken breasts, roasted and diced
- 6 criminal mushrooms or other preferred type, quartered
- 1 serrano, sliced thinly
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Steamed white rice or rice noodles for serving
- In a medium dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot, heat coconut oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add curry paste, lemongrass, ginger, and 1/4 of the onion. Stir for to incorporate ingredients together, and let cook five minutes, or until onions are starting to soften. Add 1 cup of the chicken stock and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and let simmer for a few minutes.
- Add cilantro and basil to the bowl of a food processor or blender, and add onion mixture from the pot. Be careful when adding the hot liquid, and puree mixture until relatively smooth. Pour mixture from the processor bowl back into the dutch oven and return to medium heat.
- Add remaining chicken stock, coconut milk, and lime juice to the pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce to desired thickness, and then add the rest of your veggies except for the serranos. Cook for a few minutes, and then add chicken. Add salt and pepper to taste, heat through, and remove from heat.
- Serve with rice or over noodles, and top with serranos and additional cilantro and basil if desired.
Notes and Variations
This recipe is super simple to tailor to your own taste, or whatever your family or company prefers. It’s also really easy to make it vegan/vegetarian! Add tofu instead of chicken, and use a simple vegetable broth or stock in place of the chicken stock. Endless opportunities with this one, folks.