You were thinking Indian curried chicken, weren’t you?  Don’t lie.

I could totally have cheated for this post, except that I forgot to take pictures the last time I made curried chicken (just last week)!  Jim and I made Vij’s Cilantro-Mint Chicken Curry (I’m always amazed at how fresh a curry can taste).

shameless use of adorable niece to promote blog

Oh well.  I love many cultures’ versions of curried chicken, so for you, dear readers, I “sacrificed” and made Thai Green Curry Chicken, a recipe I’ve been modifying for years.  I was babysitting my adorable niece, Avery (she calls me “Auntie Ya-Ya”), while Jim napped on the couch.  After Avery went to bed, we had the neighbours over for dinner.  Yes, we’re those babysitters!  The ones who throw a party when the kids are in bed! 

Warning: this recipe is not for the faint of heart.  It requires a great deal of slicing, dicing, prep time, and patience.  You’re looking at at least 2 hours from start to finish.  Soooo worth it though! 

I buy all of my ingredients at T&T Supermarket in Vancouver.  I know that I’m very, very lucky to have access to all of the amazing, fresh ingredients that I need for this kind of thing.   [In a related aside: I think you need to know that B is a huge condiment junky.  When we lived together, I had a hard time finding room in the fridge for actual groceries because it was so full of condiments.  So anyway, I took B to T&T and she almost died of conflicted emotion: happy because of all of the amazing new condiments she had yet to try; unhappy because she knew she had no room in her fridge for more condiments.  I think she limited herself to 3 jars 😉]

I know it can be hard for some people (like Janelle, for example, in the wilds of Saskatchewan) to find things like lime leaves and galangal.  I’ve noticed that lime leaves, lemon grass and galangal freeze beautifully, though, Janelle, so perhaps the solution is to buy a whole schwack the next time you’re out here, and throw them in your freezer??

Without further ado: “Thai” Green Curry Chicken

It's always camera drama with me! I forgot my camera at home and took this picture with my cell phone, which is why the resolution sucks and the picture is blurry. I hope it still sells the curry, though, which is REALLY good!

Curry Paste

Put all of the following into a blender, and pulse, pushing the solids down frequently, until a paste is formed.  [You can always pound it into a paste in a mortar and pestle, if you’re feeling virtuous.]

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 inch galangal, peeled and sliced into slivers [you can use ginger if you can’t find galangal]
  • zest of 2 kaffir limes or 1 “regular” lime [it’s actually easer to just peel the limes with a vegetable peeler than try to “zest” them]
  • 2 Tbsp lemongrass (inside tender part), sliced into rounds
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2-5 thai bird chilies [how hot do you want it?]
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste [looks and smells disgusting, but brings a necessary pungency to the recipe.  That said, you could always use a Tbsp or 2 of fish sauce]
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil

 Green Curry Chicken

  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 batch curry paste (from recipe above)
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 5-6 kaffir lime leaves [these are pretty much essential but in a pinch you can get by with some finely-grated (think rasp, people) lime zest]
  • 1 bunch spinach, cleaned & stems removed
  • 1 C thai basil leaves [regular basil will also work]
  • 1 each diced red and yellow peppers
  • 1 C snow peas (tips and tails removed)
  • 2-4 Tbsp fish sauce
  • steamed rice 
  1. Toss chicken with crushed garlic, brown sugar, pepper and 1 Tbsp of the curry paste and refrigerate for about 1 hour [really, I never make it to an hour.  I generally do this as soon as I’ve made the curry paste but before I wash the spinach, pluck the basil leaves, chop the vegetables, etc. Usually works out to about half an hour but if you’re prepared, you could even do this a day ahead].
  2. In a large pot, sauté remainder of curry paste (from recipe above) in canola oil over medium heat until fragrant. 
  3. Add the marinated chicken, and sauté until cooked through [I usually end up turning the heat up to medium-high at this point, just to speed things along a little].
  4. Add coconut milk, and lime leaves, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil.  Blanch the spinach and basil leaves, removing from water as soon as wilted [this will take no more than 5 seconds].  Strain and rinse with cold water until completely cooled.  Squeeze out excess moisture and throw into a blender.
  6. Scoop out approximately ¼ C of coconut milk (from the simmering pot) and add to the spinach and basil in the blender.  Blend and set aside.
  7. Keep simmering the chicken and coconut milk until it’s quite thick.  Add the spinach and basil, and the vegetables.  Simmer for 5 more minutes until the peppers are tender but still have some bite. 
  8. Taste the curry and add as much fish sauce as it needs (taste for salt and pungency).  Serve over steamed rice.

xx Eva