Tag Archives: Thai basil

Thai Green Curry

Thai Green Curry

After spending the month of February with temperatures in the 70s, we are having a brief cold snap. Perfect weather for a bowl of hot Thai Green Curry. Although around here, any temperature is good weather for a delicious curry.

Curry pastes vary widely in their spiciness. My favorite green curry paste is this variety from Maesri. It is, however, extremely spicy. As you are adding your curry paste to the broth, add in small amounts,  tasting before adding additional paste, until you reach your desired spice tolerance.

Green Curry Paste

RECIPE:

Thai Green Curry

Thai Green Curry

about 3 Tbs coconut oil, divided
3-4 Thai eggplant, cubed (or 1 medium zucchini, cubed)
½ cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup diagonally sliced asparagus
3-4 Tbs green curry paste (divided)
1 lb chicken breast, thinly sliced
2 cans coconut milk
1 cup water (or Swanson Thai ginger broth)
1 Tbs fish sauce
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 red chilies, thinly sliced
1 package firm tofu, cubed
¼ cup Thai basil leaves, sliced
Lime wedges
Hot cooked rice

Heat 1 Tbs coconut oil in a large pot. Add eggplant to hot oil and cook for 3 minutes (eggplant will not be completely cooked). Remove eggplant from pan and set aside. If necessary, add an additional tablespoon of oil to the pot and cook mushrooms and asparagus for 3-4 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Set aside in a separate bowl from the eggplant. Add 1 Tbs coconut oil and 1 Tbs curry paste to the pot. Cook until fragrant. Add chicken to pot and cook until outside is no longer pink, but chicken is not completely cooked.

Add coconut milk and water to the pot with the chicken and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low and stir in partially cooked eggplant, fish sauce, brown sugar, salt, red chilies and tofu. Simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until chicken and eggplant are cooked through.  (If using zucchini, instead of eggplant, do not return to the curry until just before serving).

Add additional curry paste until desired level of spiciness is reached (add in small amounts and taste after each addition). Return asparagus and mushrooms to the curry. Add additional water if curry is too thick.

Stir in sliced basil leaves just before serving. Serve with lime wedges over hot rice, if desired.

Makes 8-10 servings

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Filed under Main Dishes, Soups/Stews/Curries

Chicken with Red Thai Peanut Sauce and Cucumber Salad

One more grilling recipe while the weather is still warm!

Asian flavors make a frequent appearance at our dinner table. Thai is one of my personal favorites. It can be made as spicy or mild as you like by adjusting the curry paste or red peppers. This chicken can either be prepared on the grill, or inside in a skillet.

I used the last of the Thai basil from my garden in this, but it is also good with chopped cilantro.

When I cook it inside, I pound the chicken flat first, so that it will cook more quickly. On the grill, I leave the chicken pieces unpounded. The sauce is made from coconut milk, peanut butter and red curry paste, plus a few other standard Asian ingredients (ginger, garlic, soy sauce). The sauce goes together quickly with the use of a regular blender (although, after a cooking demo today, I am feeling some serious Vitamix envy!)

This Thai cucumber salad was a nice accompaniment to the chicken. It is light, just a little sweet, and a little spicy. Made with my favorite little pickling cucumbers.

RECIPES:

Chicken with Red Thai Peanut Sauce

1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup peanut butter
2 tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic
¼ cup soy sauce
2 Tbs rice vinegar
1 Tbs brown sugar or 1 packet Stevia
2 tsp red Thai curry paste
1 tsp chicken bouillon

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
about 2 Tbs peanut oil
3-4 Tbs finely chopped Thai basil or cilantro

In a blender combine first 9 ingredients. Blend until combined.

Put each chicken breast inside plastic bag or between plastic wrap and pound to even 1/2 inch thickness. (*NOTE: Pounding the chicken will make it cook quickly on the stovetop. Alternately, you could grill the unpounded chicken breasts on an outdoor grill)

Heat 2T oil in a large skillet. Season chicken with salt and black pepper, then add chicken to pan and sauté until chicken is cooked through. If you need to cook your chicken in batches, then keep chicken warm (on a plate under foil) while cooking additional chicken.

Add sauce to pan. Scrape off browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Turn off heat and mix in chopped Thai basil or cilantro. Serve immediately over warmed chicken breasts, with additional chopped Thai basil or cilantro for garnish, if desired.

Thai Cucumber Salad

4-6 small pickling cucumbers, sliced
1/2 of a small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar, unsweetened
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (or use additional 1/4 cup rice vinegar)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs sesame oil
1 pkt. Stevia (or 1 Tbs sugar)
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes

Mix sliced cucumbers, onion and cilantro in a bowl. Stir together remaining ingredients. Pour over cucumbers.

 

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Filed under Main Dishes, Salads, Side Dishes

Pumpkin Quiche and a Thai Winter Squash Soup

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Fall vegetables and fruit have such wonderful deep colors! We recently purchased several bushels of squash, pumpkins and apples and it has been fun finding ways to use them. As colder weather sets in I love roasting squash and making good hearty soups that taste and smell fabulous and warm up the house all at the same time. For dinner one night this weekend I roasted a bunch of squash and pumpkins and made a pumpkin quiche and a creamy winter squash soup with a subtle Thai flavor.

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Pumpkin Quiche with Bacon & Asparagus

For the quiche, I used my standard quiche recipe, substituting one cup of mashed pumpkin for one cup of cream in the recipe. I used half of a small roasted sugar pumpkin (try roasting your own squash-it is wonderful!)

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DSC03897 I used an immersion blender to mix the remaining cup of cream with the pumpkin and then added that to the egg and cheese mixture (I used Swiss and Parmesan), tossed in some cooked, crumbled bacon, sautéed onions and garlic, and chopped asparagus and baked it in a pie crust. DSC03909

The resulting quiche had only a very mild pumpkin flavor, but it had a wonderful texture and color.

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This would be a great way to sneak extra veges into your family’s diet without them ever knowing! And it is so much healthier than the original recipe.

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Next time I want to try this with a butternut squash, which has a slightly stronger taste and even more brilliant color!

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DSC03959 Thai Winter Squash Soup

I loved this soup! I used four different varieties of winter squash for this: half of a small pumpkin, an acorn squash, a butternut squash and a delicata squash (the small yellow one with green stripes). Any combination of squash would work fine. In trying to come up with a recipe, I didn’t want an overly bland soup, but I also didn’t want to overpower the roasted squash flavor by using really strong flavors, or making it too spicy.

DSC03880 I started by roasting all of my squash and then coarsely chopping them (I took the lazy approach to chopping and scooped the cooked squash into a large 4C Pyrex measuring cup and then ran a knife through it to help pack down the squash to get a full 4 cups).

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In a stockpot, sauté some onions and garlic in coconut oil or olive oil.

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When they are soft, stir in the cooked, chopped squash and two chopped apples (they lend a nice sweetness to the soup).

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Thin mixture by adding 2 cups of chicken broth, one can of coconut milk and one cup of cream (for a wonderful richness). Cook until apples and squash are very soft. Use an immersion blender to create a smooth soup. Use can also use a blender, but you will have to work in batches. I added a mild Thai flavor to this soup by stirring in 2 tsp Thai red curry paste and 1 tsp fresh grated ginger. I also added a small amount of fresh thyme and some chopped Thai basil from our garden, now growing inside (chopped cilantro would also be great). Add additional chicken broth if soup is too thick.

DSC03959 We garnished this with some toasted pine nuts (sauté pine nuts in 1 Tbs coconut oil or butter until lightly browned).

RECIPES:

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Pumpkin Quiche with Bacon & Asparagus

Unbaked Single Pie Crust
4 slices bacon
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped asparagus
1 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin
1 cup heavy cream
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Chop bacon and cook until crisp. Remove from pan. Drain grease, reserving 1 Tbs of drippings in the pan. Sauté onion and garlic until softened, but not browned. Remove from heat. Stir in chopped asparagus. Cool slightly.

Mix mashed pumpkin and cream well (an immersion blender works great). Mix in eggs, cheeses, salt and pepper. Stir in cooled bacon/vegetable mixture.

Pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until set. Cover edges of crust with foil or pie crust shield if they brown too quickly. Cool 10 minutes before slicing.

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Thai Winter Squash Soup

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2 Tbs coconut oil or butter
1 large onion, chopped
4 whole garlic cloves
4 cups cooked, mashed winter squash
(I used pumpkin, butternut, acorn and Delicata)
2 apples: peeled, cored and chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 ½ tsp salt (adjust to taste)
1/8 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp Thai red curry paste
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
1 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbs chopped fresh Thai basil (or chopped cilantro-I would use more of the cilantro, probably ¼ cup)
Toasted pine nuts

Heat coconut oil (or butter) in a stockpot. Sauté onion and garlic until soft. Add cooked squash and apples. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and coconut milk and cook until apples are tender, about 10 minutes. (You could also use uncooked, diced squash and cook longer, until squash is very tender).

Blend soup to make a smooth puree (using an immersion blender or regular blender).

Add cream, salt, coriander, curry paste, ginger and thyme leaves. Cook 10-15 minutes, adding additional chicken broth if the soup is too thick.

Stir in Thai basil or cilantro just before serving.

Garnish with toasted pine nuts.

 

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Filed under Breakfast/Brunch, Main Dishes, Soups/Stews/Curries