As much as I love Thai red curry paste, I've been slow to shower affection on green curry paste. I should love it, because it's hotter than the red, and you know how much I love spicy food. I've kept my distance because of one ingredient: cilantro. A.k.a. fresh coriander. A.k.a. soap. (That's how it tastes to me.) I don't have the same issues with ground coriander, and several store-bought green curry pastes use that instead of fresh cilantro. I've recently discovered Mae Ploy brand, which comes in a little 14-ounce tub (their red curry paste is my absolute favorite). It's made from all-natural ingredients, it's easy to find in any Asian grocery store (or online). This recipe calls for fresh basil or Thai basil, and there's no substitute for that; I grow both in my herb garden, but at this time of year I rely on supermarket basil. If you're a cilantro lover, go ahead and add a tablespoon or two of roughly chopped cilantro at the end.
Thai green basil curry with chicken, asparagus and spinach
Serves 2-3; can be doubled.
1 tsp canola oil
1 small onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
8-10 medium asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp Thai green curry paste (I use Mae Ploy brand)
1 13-oz can coconut milk
2 tsp brown sugar
Juice of 1 lime
2 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
4 oz baby spinach leaves
4-6 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
In a small Dutch oven or heavy sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Stir in the onion and chicken, and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the chicken is beginning to brown slightly. Add the asparagus, and cook for 1 minute.
Add the curry paste plus 1/4 cup of water, and stir to distribute evenly. Then, add the coconut milk, and stir well. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes (check every few minutes to make sure the chicken isn't sticking to the pan).
Combine the brown sugar, lime juice and soy sauce in a small glass measuring cup. Pour the mixture into the pot, and stir. Cook for 2 minutes. Add all of the spinach and basil leaves, and stir them into the curry. As soon as the spinach is wilted, taste, and add black pepper to taste.
Serve hot, over rice.
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
In a hurry green curry, from 101 Cookbooks
Thai green curry with vegetables and tofu, from FatFree Vegan Kitchen
Green curry beef with pineapple and coconut rice, from Healthy Delicious
Green curry soup, from Taste with the Eyes
Thai green curry shrimp risotto, from The Sugar Bar
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