I’m dangerously susceptible to the lure of the carry-out order. Even someone who loves to cook likes a night off now and then. I’ll even admit I’ve called to place an order for carry-out while I was at the grocery store, because it was getting late, and I knew I was going to be beyond famished by the time I got home and cooked dinner. But speed-dialing my favorite restaurant for a Crab Rangoon fix, while highly satisfying in the short term, is ultimately not all that healthy. Seeking a quick and easy alternative to takeout, I once again consulted my beloved Food and Wine, and found what has become my favorite curry recipe.
This recipe is in pretty heavy rotation in my kitchen, as it really does satisfy my cravings for carry-out. The original recipe is fantastic, but as you may or may not have noticed, I have a tendency to lighten up almost everything I prepare. In this case, I reduced the amount of vegetable oil from 3 tablespoons to 1, but the end result is still just as delicious.
You may use either Thai or Indian red curry paste, but I don’t recommend substituting with curry powder. The curry paste and other specialty ingredients should be readily available at most grocery stores.
Spicy Red Curry Chicken
Adapted from Food and Wine
Yields 4 servings
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 to 3 teaspoons red curry paste
1 Tablespoon oyster flavored sauce
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
1 Tablespoon very finely chopped (or microplaned) fresh ginger
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
Toasted peanuts (optional)
Rice for serving
- In a small bowl, whisk the coconut milk with the curry paste and oyster flavored sauce until combined.
- Heat a large wok or skillet until very hot. Add the vegetable oil and heat until just smoking. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet in a single layer. Cook over high heat, turning once, until the chicken is browned but not cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
- Add the mushrooms to the skillet and stir-fry over high heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry for one minute. (If you are using chicken from a bird you roasted earlier, start with step 3, cut about 1 1/2 cups of chicken into pieces and add to the mushrooms/garlic/ginger mixture along with some salt and pepper here). Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet. Add the red curry mixture and the water and bring to a boil. Add the frozen peas and simmer until liquid is slightly reduced and the peas are warm, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with rice and garnish with toasted peanuts if desired.