Wow! I had no idea. I’ve made this recipe several times, but am always amazed by the taste of a simple curry. This recipe is not difficult. It’s easy and quick. It’s inexpensive. It has become one of my and my husband’s very favorites.
Bored with the same old chicken dishes, I found this one at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. An awesome find that widened my culinary palate in a huge way. What a gift, seriously.
Adding vegetables, simple and traditional or non-traditional, only adds to the nutritional data. The coconut milk may be a bit of a nutritional reach due to fat content, but what the heck. Some dishes are worth savoring, and Simple Chicken Curry is certainly one.
This recipe also calls for Asian fish sauce. You can buy fish sauce at any Asian grocery, or perhaps some forward thinking, amply stocked stores will carry it. You don’t need much at all, so a bottle will last for a good long time. It’s cheap. If you’re running in the Asian cuisine lane, you’ll need eventually to buy fish sauce. It’s salty and is disgusting smelling, but, trust me, you won’t regret the couple of bucks you spend.
You’ll also need to buy a curry powder. Now, curry powder is like chili powder or Italian seasoning. It comes many different ways. You can make your own, which I desperately wish to attempt, or buy this sweet curry from Penzey’s Spices. There are other curries available, but this is the friendliest for this dish.
So, let’s look at my fascination with curry at the beginning. “Adams Rib” starring Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. A mid-Century movie in black & white, it’s the story of two married-to-each-other attorneys. One represents the state, the other, the defense. It’s funny, simple humor with adult relationships – I simply love it, as did my 70’s college friends. Take a look at the trailer:
In the beginning of the movie, Hepburn & Tracy come home after a long day’s work looking for something quick to make for dinner. They decide on lamb curry. (Like, who has a cooked leg of lamb in the fridge? It’s the 50’s OK? Who knows?) In the clip, it hints at what they’re preparing, but the dish is easily identified when Hepburn cracks a fresh coconut over the kitchen sink dressed in a becoming bathrobe. Seriously, as a junior high school student, I was wondering what the hell was lamb curry? What was curry at all?? Although I was well versed in leg of lamb. Gee, was this an epicurean epiphany?
According to her blog, Mel at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe has a great Asian Indian friend, Sujoo. It is this woman who, I might say, expanded Mel’s palette, as she has done mine. Thank you, Mel & Sujoo.
Gosh, this stuff is great. Yes, I added some unconventional veggies, but it rounded out the meal. We do have leftovers, and my husband and I fight over who gets the biggest portion. Guess who wins??
Shall we travel together to the land of Asian culinary mystique? Let’s begin.
Healthy Appetite! Mimi
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger, fresh & grated, or frozen & grated
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
- 2 teaspoons curry powder, preferable Penzy's Sweet Curry Powder
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 can (13.6 ounce) coconut milk. regular fat or low fat
- ½ tablespoon light brown sugar
- ½ tablespoon fish sauce
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional)
- ¼ - ½ cup chopped cilantro
- Hot, cooked rice or quinoa for serving
- In a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until hot. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds, until it starts to smell fragrant.
- Sprinkle in the curry powder, coriander and cumin. Cook for another 30 seconds, stirring to prevent burning.
- Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes (it doesn't need to be cooked all the way through quite yet).
- Stir in the coconut milk, brown sugar, fish sauce, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
- If you would like the sauce a bit thicker, whisk together the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water in a small bowl. Once combined, stir the mixture into the simmering curry. Simmer, stirring constantly, for a minute or so until the sauce thickens a bit.
- Stir in the cilantro. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Serve the curry over hot, cooked rice, quinoa or whatever else you might like (or it can be served on its own).
I did not alter Mel's Kitchen Cafe recipe, except to use whole fat coconut milk. Rather than add cornstarch slurry, I just simmered the dish down for a bit for the desired consistency, which Mel offers as an alternative.