The two main types of curried dishes are either from India or from Thailand. An Indian Curry Both are delicious and we eat both quite often. I do not really have a preference to either, it really just kind of depends on my mood at the time of cooking. Indian curries are usually less saucy than Thai curries, and are more paste-like. Indian curries almost always contain turmeric, cumin and coriander. Thai curries are most often made with coconut milk, are lighter, and are more soup-like than Indian curries. They are often made with ingredients that are more traditional from the Asian parts of the world, such as cilantro, lemon grass and tamarind. Usually the Thai curries are a little sweeter too. Both range from mild to spicy, depending on how much heat you like. And both styles can be made with any combination of meats, seafood, and/or vegetables, or vegetables only if you prefer them to be vegetarian. There is no right or wrong way to make a curry.
Curries, whether they are Indian or Thai, can be made with a lot of ingredients or just a few. I tend to make mine with a lot of ingredients, since I “like stuff in my stuff”. I tend to make them with a lot of different vegetables. In this particular curry, I added some pumpkin, broccoli, red peppers, jalapenos, onion, basil and cilantro to really make it full of flavor. You can use a wide variety of vegetables.
Thai Chicken Curry
1 1/2- 2 lb chicken, cut into thin strips
1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 cup pumpkin, cubed
1/2 onion, sliced very thin
1 jalapeno, diced fine
1 TBSP fresh basil, chiffonade or cut into thin strips
2 TBSP cilantro, chopped fine
1 TBSP garlic
1 TBSP ginger, fresh or dried is fine
1 can coconut milk
1 TBSP lime juice
1 TBSP honey – I used ginger honey
salt & red pepper to taste
2-3 tsp curry, or to taste
olive oil or peanut oil
toasted coconut, optional for topping
cilantro for topping
Cook the vegetables in the oil and the salt & pepper until the onions, broccoli and peppers are translucent and tender.
Once the vegetables are done, remove them from the skillet and set aside. In the same oil, adding more if necessary, cook the chicken.
While the chicken is cooking, mix the coconut milk, lime juice, honey and all the spices together. I used my ginger honey that I received for Christmas A Box of Honey which really made the flavors pop and come to life.
Add the vegetables back into the chicken and mix together, then add the liquid mixture and combine well. Add the basil and half the cilantro and mix well. Bring the dish to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for about 7 minutes, stirring frequently.
Curries, but especially Thai curries, are very accommodating to being served with either rice or noodles. This time I served it over angel hair pasta. I topped it with toasted coconut and cilantro and served it with Indian naan bread, along with a crisp buttery chardonnay. It just hit the spot and was perfect for dinner.