I used to think that lunch should very rarely be a hot meal. Even when dining out for lunch, I would pick a cold sandwich or salad, maybe going so far as to order/reheat soup with the occasional “splurge” for a hot lunch at, say, a Thai food place (because I can never pass up green curry chicken). I’m not sure where this attitude developed, seeing as how, traditionally, people around the world eat a hot lunch, preferring instead a light/leftover dinner. Since Mr. Foodie came into my life, however, I’ve adopted a much different view. His family makes hot lunch frequently, and when we find ourselves both at home for the lunching hour, we endeavor to do the same. At the very least, I grill my sandwiches now 🙂
Although we both LOVE all things Thai and Indian, I find I am intimidated by making this cuisine because I am unfamiliar with many of the flavor profiles. I usually follow a recipe exactly when I make Thai or Indian because I do not feel as though I know enough to experiment. For this lunch, I had planned ahead and bought coconut milk, bell peppers, and bamboo shoots, but I also picked a very simple curry recipe that I was sure would differ quite a bit from what you might eat at a Thai restaurant.
My ratios were a little off because I was using leftover cooked chicken, but I don’t mind a slightly soupy curry – the better to flavor the rice! While we both enjoyed the curry, it majorly lacked heat. Not surprising since the recipe does not call for so much as a red pepper flake. Next time I am definitely going to buy some of the tantalizing tiny Thai peppers (say that three times fast) that I see in the produce section—well maybe just one of them to start as they really are quite hot. I will also pick up some Thai basil instead of using my regular basil – believe it or not, there is a flavor difference! Finally, I want to try my hand at making my own curry paste. I suspect there is a big difference in the flavor profile based off my 15 or so years of eating green curry at every Thai restaurant in my vicinity.
Even though it lacked heat and some of the intense basil/curry flavor I love so much in Thai cooking, we still ate every bite. It warmed our bellies and was a welcome break from soup and sandwiches.
Recipe for Easy Green Curry (from Epicurious)
- 1 tablespoon virgin coconut or canola oil
- 1/4 cup green curry paste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
- 1 medium onion, sliced into 1/4-inch strips
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1/4-inch strips
- 1 cup homemade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 cups 1/2-inch cubed cooked chicken (from 1 [2 1/2-pound] rotisserie chicken)
- 1/2 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed (about 2 1/2 cups)
- 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
- 1/4 cup basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- Cooked rice or rice noodles and lime wedges (for serving)
- Heat oil in a medium pot over medium. Cook curry paste, ginger, and lime zest, stirring, until heated through, about 1 minute. Add onion and salt and cook, stirring, until onion is soft, about 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and stir to combine. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until pepper is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add chicken, snap peas, and coconut milk and cook over medium, being careful not to boil, until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Stir in basil and lime juice. Serve with rice or rice noodles and lime wedges alongside.