There is a tiny Thai food place down the street from my apartment called Tawan's. I mostly order take out from them, and when Tyler is on tour, far more often than I should. It has come to the point where when I call to place an order, they know who I am (caller ID) and know what I want: Pad See Ew. Every time. Pad See Ew.
There's something about Thai food that hooks you. It's delicious, first and foremost, but it's also surprising. The complementary contrasts of spice cooled by coconut milk, the soft noodles with crunchy vegetables, or the fluffy rice with sticky sauce. You'll notice that we aren't making my go-to order, and that is because I do not know how to make it taste like it should. Someday I hope to have it on this blog. Today we're making something closer to Tyler's go-to: Thai curry with coconut rice. I find this dish very comforting, especially on winter nights.
I like to choose vegetables with a lot of color to brighten the dish and help me be creative when shopping. This time we're using snap peas, bell pepper, and carrots, but you can improvise with what you like or have in the fridge.
Also, let me tell you about this coconut rice. It is so simple and so delicious, and you can make it with any amount of rice you want. Instead of water or broth, use a combination of half coconut water and half canned coconut milk. The rice is so flavorful and complimentary to things like this curry.
Thai Curry and Coconut Rice
- 1 chicken breast
- 1 cup white or jasmine rice
- 1 15oz can plus 1 cup canned coconut milk
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1/4 lb snap peas
- 1 carrot
- 1/2 an onion
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp red curry paste
- Cilantro (optional garnish)
Preheat oven to 375º. Season chicken with salt and pepper, place in a baking dish (I like foil-lined for easy clean up), and cook for 20-30 minutes, until done. Remove from oven. You can either let it cool and slice into pieces, or throw it in your stand mixer right away and, with the paddle attachment, shred it for 30 seconds (it's like magic!). You can do this step ahead of time.
Combine rice, the one cup of coconut milk, and coconut water in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until you see the "eyes" (the little holes that appear after the liquid is gone).
While your chicken and/or rice is cooking, chop your bell pepper, carrot, snap peas, and onion. Place a skillet over medium heat and add oil (olive and vegetable work, coconut gives that extra flavor). Place chopped onion on the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook until softened and translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add ginger powder and garlic, stirring to combine and until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add bell pepper, carrot, and snap peas, cooking until slightly tender, about 3 minutes. Next stir in the red curry paste. Cook, stirring occasionally for two minutes. Add coconut milk and stir to combine. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in chicken to warm it back up. Remove from heat.
Scoop rice into a bowl, top with curry, and garnish with cilantro if you like.