Coconut Curry With Chicken

I wrote earlier about curry spices, and the need for a cook to know that curry isn't actually a spice (despite what western markets are selling) it's actually derived form the Tamil word Kari meaning gravy, or spiced sauce. So when I say I made Coconut Curry with Chicken, I mean the thick sauce that the chicken is swimming in is the curry and it's the star.

I remember the first curry I ever tasted. It was a lamb dhansak (spicy, pungent, fall apart lamb cooked down with lentils), and after my first bite I was hooked. A good curry takes time, the spices need to bloom and combine with the other flavors. Indian curries especially need a little TLC and an appreciation that time is the secret ingredient. This, of course, is a dish that is inspired by indian curry, with a little bit of thai inspiration as well. Southeast asian food is always so delicious and flavourful-I often combine them!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cans of full fat coconut milk
  • 4 chicken breasts sliced thin
  • 2 cups canned diced tomatoes with juices (around half a large can)
  • 2 white onions sliced thin in half circles
  • 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder or 1 Thai bird chili sliced thin (optional)
  • 2 tbs hot curry powder 
  • 1 cup diced vegetables of your choice (suggestions: zucchini or eggplant-they absorb sauces well)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Thai basil to garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  • In a stock pot, sauté onions with a good bit of salt in 1/2 tbs vegetable oil until softened
  • Add garlic and sauté for 1 min
  • Add curry powder and cayenne (or chili) and stir to coat, add 1/2 tbs vegetable oil and turn down low. Keep stirring for around 1 min so the spices don't burn.
  • Add chicken and brown for 2 mins, stirring occasionally
  • Add diced vegetables and stir for 2 mins
  • Add vegetable broth, tomatoes and coconut milk and bring to a low simmer. Simmer for at least 30 mins uncovered on low.
  • Add shredded coconut and simmer for another 30-45 mins uncovered.
  • Season generously with salt and pepper
  • Serve piping hot over steamed rice, as a stew, or with Naan bread for dipping.