EASY THAI COCONUT CHICKEN
This recipe transforms basic chicken and vegetables into something exotic and fantastic thanks to a couple dynamic, yet accessible, ingredients: coconut milk and green curry paste. These ingredients can be found in any normal grocery store; no additional stops at exclusive health stores required.
1 pound (454 g) chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup (40 g) sliced white mushrooms
1/2 cup (75 g) carrots, sliced into coins
1 cup (150 g) zucchini, sliced into half-moon shapes
1 (13.6oz/403 mL) can full fat organic coconut milk
3 tsp (45 mL) green curry paste
1/2 tsp, plus a pinch kosher salt
1 tbsp (45 g) red chile pepper slices
1 tbsp (45 g) coconut oil
Optional: Prawns can be substituted for chicken for a seafood option or double the recipe and use both chicken and prawns to feed a crowd!
In a small bowl combine the canned coconut milk with the green curry paste. Set aside.
Preheat a large, high-sided skillet with a lid, to medium-high and melt the coconut oil in the pan.
Meanwhile, cut the chicken breasts into 2-inch (5-cm) cubes and season one side with a sprinkling of kosher salt.
When the coconut oil is hot, drop the cubed chicken into the pan. This is one time when you don’t want to stir the meat while it cooks. Let the chicken sear, undisturbed, for about 5 minutes before flipping or turning the cubes to a second side to sear for about 3 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium, then add the carrots, onion and garlic to the chicken. Cook and stir for about 4 minutes. Add the zucchini, mushrooms, chile pepper slices and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Continue to cook and stir for another 5 minutes. If at any point the pan is getting too dark with what looks like burnt bits on the bottom, use about a 1/4 cup (60 mL) of water to deglaze the pan. Deglazing means that liquid is used to loosen the browned bits stuck to the bottom of a hot pan during the cooking process. The liquid “lifts” them up and incorporates the browned bits as added flavor to the dish. If you need to do it while you prepare this portion of the recipe, do it. If the browned bits are not overwhelming the pan, don’t worry about it.
When the zucchini and mushrooms are golden brown, pour in the coconut milk mixture. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes at this temperature to reduce the coconut milk slightly and concentrate the flavors.
I recommend serving this dish over cauliflower rice (which can be found on page 169 of the book) or eating it as a chunky soup, garnished with fresh basil—regular, sweet or Thai basil is fine.
For a pescatarian variation, 1 pound of prawns (about 31 to 40 per pound [1 kg] size is ideal) can be substituted. Select wild prawns that have been shelled and deveined, for added convenience. Cook the vegetables as directed, then add the prawns to the pan at the same time as the coconut milk mixture. The prawns will cook as the coconut milk simmers and thickens.