Thursday, September 25, 2008

Recipe: Thai chicken curry

It's after 7 and I hadn't even bought groceries yet. Stomachs are growling and time is short. What could I do? All too often, the default is takeout, but pizza and Chinese aren't doing my waistline any favors. Fortunately there is such a thing as a quick and healthy meal that you can cook from (almost!) scratch.

So my task was to find a quick, easy and healthy recipe, and even more difficult, all the ingredients had to be found in one grocery stop. Why is it that whatever grocery store I choose is always missing one key ingredient of my recipe? A quick search on Food and Wine's site yielded a good option - Thai Chicken with Mushrooms, Green Beans and Basil. So I headed off to Whole Foods with my fingers crossed that I'd be able to find everything.

I headed straight to the Asian food aisle since these were the most likely ingredients to be unavailable. Lo and behold, Whole Foods let me down right off the bat. Nary a drop of oyster sauce to be found. I'm already at the store recipe in hand, and it's 7:30, so I'm committed to this dish. In the spirit of Sandra Lee's Semi Home-Made show, I picked up a bottle of World Foods Creamy Thai Chili Kaffir Lime stir-fry sauce and scrapped the notion of making my own sauce. From there I adapted the recipe to the following:

Serves 2 with enough leftovers for 1 lunch
Ingredients
  • 3/4 bottle of World Food stir-fry sauce
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound green beans, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 3 scallions, white and light green parts only, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast cutlets, pounded thin and cut into strips
  • 1 package mixed mushrooms
  • 1 can drained canned baby corn, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 3 small jalapeƱos halved, seeded and thickly sliced lengthwise
  • salt to taste
Directions
  1. In a deep pan or wok, heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil over high heat. Add the beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the wok and heat until smoking. Add the scallions, garlic and salt and stir-fry until the garlic is lightly golden, about 45 seconds.
  3. Add the chicken in 3 batches, waiting a few seconds between additions, and stir-fry until it barely turns white, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms, corn, jalapeƱos and green beans and stir-fry until the vegetables are crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Add the stir-fry sauce and stir-fry until the chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes longer.
  6. Transfer to platter and serve with jasmine rice.
Phew...dinner on the table by 9, which all things considered wasn't too bad at all. It was a bit spicy and had a variety of textures and flavors to keep things interesting. We served it with our beloved White Lambrusco, a sweet fizzy wine that goes down oh so easy.

This recipe was indeed pretty quick, and even better, it didn't make a big mess in the kitchen and gave us a much larger serving of veggies than we normally get. I would have preferred a slightly thicker or more strongly flavored sauce, but the World Foods sauce was a time saver and kept me from having half-full bottles of random Asian sauces around. I'll definitely play around with this recipe again with other sauces and additional veggies like red or green peppers or broccoli.

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