Chicken and Vegetable Green Curry

I love this dish, because it’s nice easy to cook, super cheap to make and freezes really well. You can also substitute like crazy on any of the items. Cooking to me is all about the exploration. Swap the chicken with fish (so good, so, so good), use red curry or massaman curry, drop the meat completely and just have vegetables. Drop the vegetables and add bacon (only kidding, never tried that).

Don’t be daunted by the number of items in the list – it’s mostly just random different vegetables that I like to add in, and the volume of curry it makes is pretty large, I normally get 6-8 decent sized serves out of it of which I freeze in 500ml storage containers.  If you want to reduce the volume, reduce the meat to 250g and only use 1 can of coconut liquid as well as reducing random vegetables in both volume and number. This is more art than science, it will work out fine – trust me.

When I talk about adding oil to things, I mean a small amount, like 1 tsp – not a cup. You’re not deep frying things, it’s just to help the meat and vegetables brown without sticking. For the frying parts, you can exclude the oil completely if you like.

Timing

  • 10 minutes for prep / chopping
  • 30 minutes for cooking (depending on how you chop the vegies)

Serves

  • The ingredients listed serves about 6-8 depending on how much you serve.  I use a 250ml cup and just scoop the curry out onto the rice, and each serving for me is about 1 to 1.5 scoops.

Kitchen Cookware

  • Medium or large frypan
  • Large frypan or wok (I use a wok)
  • Microwave and microwave proof dishes (not required, but makes prep and cooking time much faster)
  • Nice sharp knife
  • Wooden spoon/spatula

Ingredients

  • 1/2 jar of Valcom Green Curry Paste (could use any brand, but this is what I like)
  • 400ml (one big can) of Coconut Cream (replace with Coconut milk if you want a thinner sauce)
  • 400ml (one big can) of Coconut Milk (replace with Cream if you want a creamier/thicker curry sauce)
  • 1 tsp of Fish Sauce
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf
  • 1 small hot chilli (optional – but I like it)
  • 500g of chicken (I prefer thighs, but breasts work ok)
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 small green capsicum (or half a larger one)
  • 1 small red capsicum
  • 2 small brown onions
  • 2 carrots
  • big handful of green beans
  • vegetable oil of some form – I’ve used Peanut and Olive – both work fine
  • rice for serving on (I use long grained rice of a random sort that was on special at the supermarket)

Cooking

  1. Pour some oil in the wok and heat on high, add 1/2 jar of Green Curry Paste – cook until slightly spitty and fragrant, reduce heat to low (this is really important, or bad things happen to the about to be added coconut milk)
  2. Cook for a little longer (~1 min) until the paste stops popping and mix in the Coconut Cream (if you use milk here, be super careful, I’ve had the milk separate and go all curdly at this point – much safer to use the Cream)
  3. Mix with a wooden spoon and keep a careful watch – if it starts boiling hard, then remove from heat (add back to heat when you start adding in the vegetables)
  4. Chop the (optional) chilli and the kaffir lime leaf into tiny weeny little pieces – add to the wok – mix in
  5. Peel the sweet potato  – chop into 1cm cubes (or whatever you feel like – it doesn’t matter to be honest)
  6. Cook the sweet potato in the microwave for about 2 mins with a bit of water – this should just soften it. You’ll have to adjust for your microwave and the size of the potato, but the objective is to “half cook it” not turn it to mush.
  7. Add oil to the 2nd frypan, and lightly fry the sweet potato – just make the outside bits all nice and brown – should take about 1-2 minutes
  8. Add the fried sweet potato to the wok, mix in (wok should be on low heat – sauce should not be boiling rapidly – as you add the vegetables it will cool the sauce, just keep an eye on it)
  9. Repeat steps 6-9 for the potato (peeling optional)
  10. Repeat steps 6-9 for the carrots (if you peel them, I’m coming to your house to slap you)
  11. Roughly chop the onions and add to the wok
  12. Roughly chop the capsicum (both red and green) and add to the wok
  13. ## Rice ## (see the end)
  14. Chop the beans into 1/2 or 1/3 and add to the wok
  15. At this point you are probably over the top of the curry sauce, don’t stress we’ll fix that in a minute, just keep stirring it
  16. Chop up the chicken – you can make strips if you want, I like to make cubes and fry until it’s browned on the outside – more colour is good in my opinion – but don’t overcook it – you want the inside of it still pink/raw
  17. Add the browned chicken to the wok
  18. Add in the 2nd can of Coconut liquid – stir in thoroughly
  19. Add in 1 tsp of Fish sauce – mix well
  20. Add in 1 tsp of sugar – mix well
  21. Taste the sauce – it should be mildly fragrant with a little bit of heat.
  22. Keep stirring, turning and making sure it’s not sticking to the bottom of the pan – adjust heat
  23. Cook slowly until the potato is cooked through. That’s my trigger for it “being ready”. It normally takes about 30 mins, but that’s my microwave, my timing and my chopping sizes. Don’t be stressed if it takes another 10-15 minutes – grab a glass of wine, watch a bit of TV, set the table, panic because the guests are about to arrive and you forgot to sweep the floor.
  24. Serve to your guests – bask in the glory of their compliments

Rice – I use a rice cooker which helps because it’s zero effort and I don’t have to watch it. Depending on how you cook your rice, I would normally put it on at about the time I start chopping the beans.  If you have a kitchen minion, you can direct them to do it at that point, or cook the rice at the end. Cooking the curry for longer on low heat IS GOOD so don’t worry about that, the only thing to watch is that it’s on a low heat and isn’t sticking on the bottom of the pan/wok.  

When I made this last night I put the rice on at the very end, sat and ate cheese, dip and crackers drinking wine with my guest. It was probably 60 minutes after the curry had “finished” before I served up and it was delicious.

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I ride so I can eat

In an attempt to rekindle my joy of writing, I’m going to start blogging a bit more about more mundane things in the hope that it will spur me on to write some more comprehensive entries.

In the last 18 – 24 months I’ve been riding a lot more, and because of that, I’ve been able to indulge in all the food I could ever want. Even to the point where I end up being in calorie deficit over the week. In 2012 I managed just over 11,000km on the bike. For the first 6 months of 2013 I’m a bit behind, at about 4,800km.

For those interested in how much energy you can burn while riding, here’s some very rough numbers. You’ll burn about 400-600kcal per hour depending on work rate, which translates into about 1675 – 2500kJ per hour.  As the average adult daily kJ requirement is about 8700, going riding for 1-2 hours consumes a lot of extra energy.

This can be “reverse engineered” if you have a power meter, or use a site like Strava which will estimate your power output. I’ve read that cycling is about 19-26% efficient in turning “energy spent by the body” into “energy used at the pedal”. So, if you take the values of power and multiply by 4, or 5 (or 4.5 for a middle ground) the numbers should be close.

I’ve always enjoyed eating healthily, and have had a good food intake. Now I’m enjoying cooking for myself, and for George and exploring new and interesting things to cook.  The other part of my cooking is that now (at least for some part of the time) I’m a single Dad, so meals need to be quick and easy to make, and be child friendly.

Over the next couple of weeks/months, I’ll keep posting the things I cook and eat hopefully others will find this useful and enjoyable.