This is truly one of my most favorite dishes. The original recipe came from Tyler Florence of Food Network fame, but I have adapted it to my own tastes and cooking style. Every ingredient plays a delicious part in the overall flavor and I can’t imagine leaving any one of them out.
Plan to take a trip down the Asian isle at your grocery store and pick up some red curry paste and Sambal Oelek, also known as Rooster Sauce. I was first introduced to Sambal Oelek by an Indonesian friend at work a few years ago. Eating her amazing food convinced me that Sambal Oelek would be a great way to add some heat to my dishes.
As for the red curry paste, I like it for it’s taste, of course, but I also like it because it gives a pretty color to this curry. I have experimented with garam masala and various types of curry powders; everything tastes wonderful, but slightly different.
You will notice that the first ingredient on the recipe list is ‘Ghee’. Please, please, please take the time to make this. Ghee is simply clarified butter that has been cooked slowly to allow some caramelizing. The butter is then strained through cheesecloth to remove the solids. The flavor that the ghee brings to dishes is unbelievable.
When I make ghee, I use a pound of unsalted butter and store it in a jar in the refrigerator. It will keep well this way for a very long time. The instructions that I have included below for making ghee are from Tyler Florence and are well written.
The very best rice over which to serve Chicken Coconut Curry is Jasmine. It is a sweet, nutty aromatic rice that beautifully compliments the coconut and curry flavors.
Try this dish with a side of Naan. You can make it yourself or buy some from larger grocery stores or your favorite Indian restaurant.
- 3 tablespoons Ghee, recipe follows (Yes, take the time to do this. It is delicious.)
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated or finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste → look in the Asian isle at the grocery store
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1-2 teaspoons Sambal Oelek (Rooster sauce) → look in the Asian isle at the grocery store
- 2 (14-15 ounce) cans unsweetened coconut milk (be brave–no “lite” coconut milk!)
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin 1-inch strips
- 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple tidbits, drained
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
- Lime wedges
- Heat the ghee in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat.
- Add the onions; cook, stirring as needed for about 10 minutes until the onions begin to soften.
- Add the ginger and garlic and cook slowly for another 10 minutes. Stir as needed to keep from browning. The onions should get very soft.
- Add the tomato paste, red curry paste, cinnamon, and Sambal Oelek and stir.
- Pour in the coconut milk, chicken stock, and salt and bring back to a simmer; cook until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the tomatoes, chicken, cilantro, and pineapple tidbits; continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve over Jasmine rice. Garnish with cilantro. Squeeze lime juice over curry as desired.
***For something extra special, use fresh grilled pineapple in place of the canned pineapple tidbits.
(Thanks, Tyler Florence)
- 1 pound unsalted butter
Put the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat.
Melt the butter slowly and make sure it does not sizzle or brown.
Increase the heat and bring the butter to a boil. When the surface is covered with foam, stir gently and reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting.
Gently simmer, uncovered, and undisturbed for 45 minutes, until the milk solids in the bottom of the pan have turned golden brown and the butter on top is transparent.
Strain the ghee through a sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth. The ghee should be perfectly clear and smell nutty; pour into a glass jar and seal tightly.
I store my ghee in the refrigerator and use it as I need it. The cold causes it to solidify. No problem, just scoop out what you need and put the rest back in the fridge.