Living in Vancouver, we get rain about 10 out of 12 months in the year. Most people don't like the rain, but unlike others, a cold and rainy night gives me an excuse to make a beautiful and warm coconut curry. Thai curries are the best option on nights like these, especially with the combination of a hot Thai red chili and creamy coconut milk, it is so satisfying and just full of pleasure. I absolutely love the strong aroma of Thai ingredients like lemongrass, lime, and chili because they have an ability to calm our mind and the smell seems so therapeutic.
I really recommend this dish for those of us with busy work schedules. You won't believe how de-stressing this dish is till you try it for yourself. For me, the magic in Thai curries come from getting the right balance of lime, sugar, and saltiness. When I try to create new dishes, I will actually play around and keep adding little amounts of fish sauce, sugar, lime and oyster sauce till I get that perfect balance. This is what I suggest you do as well. We all have different palettes, so my recipe will have the basic amount that I recommend, but keep tasting and make it to your liking. If you accidentally add too much salt, add a bit more coconut milk, and if you add too much sugar, then add some lime. Enjoy!
INGREDIENTS 1/2 Thai red chili 500g of chicken with bone (I used drummettes) 1 cup coconut milk (make sure to shake the can before opening) 2 lemongrass stalks bruised and chopped 1 medium onion chopped 1-2 tbsp lime juice 2 tbsp fish sauce 1 tbsp sugar 1 tsp oyster sauce 3 garlic cloves chopped 2 tbsp coconut oil 1/2 cups of water 1/2 cup basil leaves 1/2 cup chicken stock
STEPS In a pot heat coconut oil and heat to medium temperature. When oil is heated, add in a few leaves of basil, garlic, lemongrass (slightly bash the lemongrass using a mortar-pestle) and 1/4 of the chili. Stir fry a little and add in onions. Fry till the onions start to develop some color. After frying onions for about 5-7 minutes, add in the chicken and get some nice color on the skin. Now turn the heat to medium-high and add the oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sugar and fry for another 10 minutes. You want to make sure to keep stirring the pot so that all the chicken pieces cook evenly.
At this point, add the rest of the chili, coconut milk, water, and the chicken stock and turn the heat down to medium-low and put the lid on to let the chicken cook through. You want to stir in between but cook for another 10 minutes at most. If you are using drummettes, it shouldn't take longer than 20-30 min for the chicken to cook through.
At this point turn your heat down to low and taste your curry to make sure you like the balance of salt, sugar and lime flavors. Trust your judgment and if you feel like it needs more of something, adjust using the given ingredients. Always remember that with curries, the flavor comes from the stock and the bones, so it always helps to lower the heat and let the curries simmer at the end to really pull all the juices out of the bones. Let me know if this recipe worked for you :) !!
VARIATIONS If you want to make the curry a bit more healthy, substitute for chopped chicken breast. Also remember that if you do decide to use bigger pieces of chicken, the cooking time may vary. If you are a new cook, I would recommend you take a piece out and check if it is cooked through before tasting, we don't want anyone getting a bad stomach. Usually, when the meat starts to separate from the bones, it is a good indication that the chicken is cooked.