I must have curry on the brain these days because it seems like everywhere I go: there it is! Okay, something of an exaggeration, but this does seem to be Unofficial Curry Week around here – first Thai delivery on Sunday, then Ina’s curry influenced soup, a date with a friend who has promised to take us to eat amazing Tibetan food this weekend, and now this recipe which I pinned ages ago and just dusted off to actually try.
The tricky part about curry mixes is that they’re all different depending on the source – one might be firey lava hot while another is gentler on the taste buds. I’ve linked to the specific brands I used, but if you’re trying something different I’d recommend tasting them before adding the amount I suggested to see if it fits with your preferences.
I love curry, but I tend to be a spice lightweight so I approached the original proportions with some trepidation and started with significantly less of the curry and chili paste to create a milder version. The coconut milk does help smooth out any spikier edges, so if you prefer something quite hot then add more of the chili and curry pastes.
Chicken Coconut Curry with Chickpeas & Rainbow Chard (serves 6)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast, thinly sliced
1/3 cup (1 large) thinly sliced shallots
1 1/2 teaspoons (1 1/2 inch piece, peeled) grated fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon (1 large clove) grated garlic
5 teaspoons green curry paste
2 1/2 teaspoons sambal oelek chili paste
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 can (14 ounce) coconut milk
2 cups water
1 can (14 ounce) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 cups (1 bunch) Rainbow chard, cleaned, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 cup unsalted, toasted cashews
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot or French oven over medium heat. Add in the sliced shallots, reduce the flame to low, and sauté for 4-5 minutes until they begin to soften. While the shallots are cooking, thinly slice the chicken breasts horizontally, across the grain in 1/4 inch pieces.
Next, add the grated ginger and garlic to the pot and sauté for one 1 minute. Stir in the curry paste, chili paste, and kosher salt to form a thick sauce and cook for 1 more minute. Add the sliced chicken to the pot and stir to coat with the sauce. Sauté over medium heat until almost fully cooked, about 6-7 minutes.
Stir in the coconut milk and one can (about 2 cups) of water. Bring to a boil and the reduce to low to simmer for 20 minutes. While the curry is simmering, drain and rinse the chickpeas and prep the Rainbow chard. Slice each leaf along the central rib to remove and set aside. Chop the ribs into 2 inch pieces. Next, roll the leaves vertically and slice across the roll in 1/4 pieces to create ribbons.
Once the chicken is fully cooked, add in the chickpeas and stalks and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes until the stalks soften. Wilt in the chard ribbons and stir in the toasted cashews. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning according to taste. Serve alone or with basmati rice, pita bread or naan with extra chili paste on the side.
Small Kitchen Friendly?
Surprisingly, yes! This is a classic one-pot dish and I used my faithful 5.5 qt Le Creuset French oven, along with a chef’s knife, two* medium cutting boards (one for vegetables, one for chicken), measuring spoons, a microplane grater, and a wooden spatula.
*If you have just one cutting board, hopefully it’s a plastic one that can be run through the dishwasher. Prep the chard, ginger, etc. first and set aside before cutting the chicken.
Mike and I both really liked this recipe and it has the dual benefit of pleasing two people who have verrrry different ideas of what’s considered spicy. It’s easy to stir in a bit more chili paste or leave it as is just spooned over basmati rice. The addition of fresh ginger and garlic brightens up the coconut milk and since I’m obsessed with having a bit of crunch the cashews are perfect. Only one problem and a note of caution: I may have cooked my way out of Thai takeout…