Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chicken Thai Massaman Curry with Scallion-Lime Couscous

Thai Massaman curry is a dish that is a bit more like an Indian curry because of the use of some of the savory spices like nutmeg, clove and cardamom. There are many versions to this dish, so I made it as authentic as I could based on what ingredients I had in the house. This dish whips up quick, about 40 minutes, costs about $20 and feeds 4 people.

Chicken Thai Massaman Curry

- Dry Spice Mix -
1 tablespoon of paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 clove, crushed

- Wet Spice Mix -
1 Jalapeño pepper, chopped
1 Serrano chili, chopped
1 Finger Hot chili, chopped
1 Anaheim chili, chopped
1 bay leaf, crushed
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon grass, chopped

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 lb package of chicken tenderloins, cut into inch pieces
1 large organic sweet potato, diced to 1/2 inch squares
1/2 cup organic carrots, chopped to 1/2 inch squares
1/2 large organic vidallia onion, diced to 1/2 inch squares
4 organic scallions, rough chopped - tops reserved for garnish
1/2 a red bell pepper, diced to 1/2 inch squares
1 small can of bamboo shoots
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or fish sauce, but wifes allergic so soy it is)
1 12 oz can coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut water
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

(I didn't have these three ingredients but they make awesome additions)
1/4 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
1/4 cup unsalted cashews or peanuts
1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Mix all dry spices together. In a mortar and pestal (or food processor) blend all wet spice mix ingredients into a paste. Mix half of the dry spice mix with the chopped chicken tenderloins. Chop all of the vegetables and turn a large pot to medium heat. Once the pan is very hot, add the oils and then add the chicken. Let the chicken cook for 3 minutes on each side to get color, but do not cook all the way through. Remove the chicken and turn the heat down to medium low. Add the wet spice mix and stir rapidly, let cook for 1 minute. Now add the vegetables (onion, carrot, scallion, bell pepper and sweet potato) and let that cook for about 7 minutes. Now add the cooked chicken, bamboo shoots and the remaining half of the dry spice mix. Mix that well and then add the soy sauce, coconut milk and coconut water. Turn the heat to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the basil leaves. If you had the pineapple, cashews and/or cilantro, add those at this time as well. Let it stand for about 5 minutes and then serve.

Scallion-Lime Couscous

1 and 1/2 cups water (or vegetable stock)
1/2 cup coconut water
juice from 1 lime
peel from one lime, grated
3 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain couscous

Start a medium sauce pot on high with the water and coconut water. Once it boils add lime juice, lime peel, salt, scallions and couscous. Mix well and cover with aluminum foil and the pot lid to ensure a tight seal. Remove it from the heat and let it stand for at least 10 minutes. Open and fluff with a fork.

I scooped out the soft couscous and ladled out some of the beautiful coconut curry on the side of it. I then topped it with the sliced scallion tops and a wedge of lime. Although there were a lot of spicy ingredients, the dish was not extremely spicy because the coconut milk tempers the spice a lot. Traditionally this is served with rice but I didn't have any rice so the couscous was a great alternative and lighter side that matched perfectly. Enjoy!

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