Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Red Curry: Paleo or Not, Your Choice

A couple of days ago I offered to go to the Independence Place for a little volunteering, creating, and fellowship. Debbie (the same one I have mentioned whom you can't tell no) suggested I come at 2:30 in the afternoon, so I said it would be no problem.  When I checked my calendar to confirm my availability I only looked at the things I had planned for the daytime.  I forgot to check my evening commitments or I would have seen that I had a dinner party planned for that night. (Not checking is just the first of many bad plansfor the day)

This would normally not be an issue but I knew I would not be leaving IP until after 4, which then would put me driving home with all the others at the beginning of drive time.  Again this would normally not be a problem, but IP is a good 30 minute drive from my house under the best of circumstances. Additional traffic and the usual back-up at the 459/65 exchange makes it a 45 minute drive.

Again doable if I got home at 4:45.  I would still have enough time to get dinner cooked and be ready for guests at 6:30, except in addition to a dinner party I was in the process of Christmas decorating. (I will be out of town all next week through late night on the 30th. Then I will immediately start the process of the Santa Letters which will consume the next few days. My neighborhood lights up the day after Thanksgiving and I want to be shiny like the rest of the subdivision. And yes, my house will be a tad overdone when I am finished.) All morning I was working on getting a little Christmas going and tidying the house. It took a little longer than I thought it would and I did not have time to stop by the grocery store before I left for IP.  So now I would not only be late getting home, but I had an additional 15 or so minutes tacked on the the already late arrival time.

I had read a recipe in a free download Kindle cookbook recently and remembered it as I was driving home. I remembered it basically cooked itself so that is what I decided to make.Fortunately I recalled enough of the ingredients and knew I could always punt if I needed to. (Understand I keep a very well stocked pantry) So I stopped to grab chicken, lemongrass, carrots, a shallot, a couple of packages of naan, dessert from the bakery, brown jasmine rice, and some wine.

As it turned out I remembered the recipe a little differently than it was written, so I am posting this as I made it.  It is supposed to be an Indian red curry, but since I did not re-read the recipe until I was about half way though putting the ingredients in the pot, it might be more of a Thai/Indian fusion curry.  Oh well! The most important thing was that I could get everything in the pot and let it cook with little interference from me while I vacuumed and set the table.  (I know this looks like a lot of ingredients, but most of them are just spices so don't let that scare you.)

5 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts in medium size cubes
2 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
1 onion in julienne slices
1 shallot minced
6 cloves garlic
1 inch of fresh garlic, peeled and minced
2 cans coconut milk
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 rounded teaspoons red curry paste
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pound baby carrots
1 bag frozen green beans
Juice of 2 limes (grocery store had no lemongrass so this was a punt)
4 cups of cooked rice
cilantro for garnish

In a large enamel pot (or something similar) saute' the chicken pieces in the oil.  When the chicken loses its pink color throw in the onions and shallots and begin the wilting process but do not brown.  After they have wilted toss in the garlic and the ginger and stir it for about 30 seconds.  Immediately add the coconut milk and the chicken broth.  Stir in the tomato paste and continue stirring until everything is combined.  Add the red curry paste and blend well, then add the spices.  Put the lid on the pot and let it cook over a low heat for about an hour. After an hour add the carrots and green beans.  Turn the heat up to medium low until the vegetables are cooked through. This can sit on the stove on low for a while as long as you stir it occasionally. (I know for a fact it will simmer happily through an appetizer and a couple of glasses of wine)

Right before serving add the lime juice and stir through.  Serve in a large bowl over rice and garnish with cilantro leaves.  If you are doing that paleo thing just leave the rice out or serve it over cauliflower "rice".

The verdict on this was unanimous. It was delicious and everyone loved it. The only problem is that I have fat eyes and served huge portions that no one could finish, especially after wine and apps and the potential of chocolate pie for dessert. For the first time ever I had 2 guests who asked for doggie bags so they could have their remains for lunch the next day.

Tonight we had the final leftovers for supper and it was possibly even better after a little time in the fridge. I am going to be making another large batch and freezing it in dinner size containers for crazy nights when cooking is an issue.

p.s.  The spice measurements are the result of tasting repeatedly and adding a little of this and that until I found a flavor I liked.  Right before they got there I had to put about a dozen spoons I had used for tasting in the dishwasher, but it turned out very well. The original recipe did not call for green beans or carrots, but I needed some additional vegetables so I added them.  I will add them next time also, but I will probably also add some red and yellow peppers and cubed sweet potatoes.


  1. Okay, this last minute dinner party was making me nervous, but I'm guessing you don't mind a little excitement. What did you have for appetizers?

    1. I bought prepared buffalo chicken dip and artichoke jalapeno dip, put them in a couple of clear bowls with canape knives to self spread on triscuits. Fancy, huh?

  2. I admire you for keeping your plans with your friend in spite of your dinner commitment. I would have freaked out only having a couple hours to get everything ready. So glad it went well though and everyone enjoyed your recipe. Leftovers are always so nice to have when you don't feel like cooking.

    1. I actually cook for the freezer just to have things ready at a moments notice. I like the convenience of frozen meals, but I like knowing what went into them. If I make it then I know the actual ingredients.

  3. This looks delicious! I often amused at how similar our cooking styles are; can't tell you how often I've started a new recipe and happily puttered along for 20 minutes or so until it occurs to me to actually check the recipe and, oops, looks like it's fusion cooking again!

    My husband is from Birmingham; his mother lived off of South Hsades Crest. Traffic was insane. Glad you made it through rush hour!

    1. I read recipes all the time, but forget what I read and can never find the original again, or even if I know where it is I forget to look at it. Instead I rely on my faulty memory, but it generally turns out ok, completely different, but ok in the end. (Don't ask about the coffee/honey glazed meatball recipe I thought I remembered, which was totally different than the actual recipe for a bourbon honey glazed pork roast. That mistake was inedible)
      South Shade is not too far from me. Sounds like your husband may have gone to "that other school".

  4. Ah, Malfunction Junction would have me rethinking the plans. I would certainly plan for a truck to break through the interstate and punch a hole of fire, shutting it all down. That was the only thing I warned slugmama about when she headed south from Cullman. I see it still foggy your way, sunshine here.

    I, too, read recipes, start cooking and then check the recipe if I can ever find it.

    I put you on my blog roll.

    1. Yeah, the interstate traffic does change plans. I was fortunate to be on the bypass and really had no traffic until the merge with 65. It was really foggy early but now it is gorgeous! I had almost forgotten what sun and blue skies look like!

  5. You are amazing. I think I would have flipped out and then started canceling things and then go back to bed. Perhaps, my way to do things is the wrong/lazy way.
    Your mad cooking skills amaze me. I would have broken out the frozen pizza.

    1. Food is the one thing I do fairly well. I am never bothered by putting a decent meal on the table in a time crunch. It's those other things that I am lax about that really are my issue when guests come. I hate housework and always put it off until the last minute, so while I was driving I was making a mental list of the remaining chores and what order was going to be the most efficient. Fortunately I got it all done and even had enough time to roll and tie the napkins and have the candles on the table ready to light.

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