Thai curry sounds exotic and complicated, but in truth it’s a quick meal for which you can keep the bulk of ingredients in your pantry or freezer, plus it’s a great option for using up leftovers. If you can’t find it in your supermarket, you can order a variety of curries online for under $12. Vary up the main protein and vegetables based on what’s in your fridge. The basic formula calls for one pound of a protein (tofu, chicken, shrimp, beef or pork) and about two to three handfuls of vegetables but adjust this if you want to increase the ratio of veggies to meat, or on what you’re staring down in your crisper drawer. Tip: You can store tightly wrapped gingerroot in your freezer. Once you get the technique down, you can prepare this within 15 minutes or so.
- 1 lb. meat or tofu cut into bite-sized pieces or peeled, deveined shrimp
- ½ of a 14-oz. can of coconut milk
- ¼ cup red curry paste
- 1 cup chicken stock or vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- Pinch of red chili flakes
- 3 or 4 thin slices fresh gingerroot
- Vegetables (mix and match)
- ½ cup sliced button or cremini mushrooms
- 1 cup sliced cabbage (1-inch-wide bite-size strips)
- ¾ cup sliced carrots (sliced ⅛-inch thick on an angle)
- A handful chopped fresh cilantro or basil
- Lime wedges, for garnish (optional)
- Prepare the meat, seafood or tofu, set aside.
- Shake the can of coconut milk or stir it well to mix the solids and liquids. Add a half cup of coconut milk to a 3- to 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Reduce by half, stirring occasionally. This should take about five minutes. Whisk in the curry paste, stirring for about a minute. Then add in the broth, sugar, fish sauce, chili flakes, lime zest and another half cup of coconut milk. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken, shrimp or tofu, ginger slices and carrots. After 2 minutes add the mushrooms and cabbage. Simmer until everything is tender and cooked through, about three more minutes. Remove from heat and taste, adding more fish sauce, sugar or chili flakes as desired. Serve over rice, garnished with chopped basil or cilantro and lime wedges.
Photo by Kathleen Flinn