One of the delights of life is eating with friends; second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.
Laurie Colwin

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Siamese Chicken Curry

Adapted from The Frog Commissary Cookbook by Steven Poses, Anne Clark, and Becky Roller

Serves 2




This is from one of my very favorite cookbooks. Everything I’ve ever tried from it has been really good, the directions are clear, and it’s just plain fun to read. I never ate at Frog when the restaurant was open in Philadelphia, but I did go to The Commissary a few times, and my favorite cup at work is one from there that has been used for so long, the trademark carrots have washed away. I was told by Nach Waxman at the wonderful (wonderful, wonderful) bookstore, Kitchen Arts & Letters , that Steven Poses is Barbara Kafka’s cousin, and she is one fine cookbook author. Must be fabulous when they get together for family meals.

Anyway, this recipe was my first introduction to cooking with Thai curry paste. Apparently, some members of the staff at Frog were from Thailand, and they brought packets of curry paste to work with them to cook staff meals. Steven Poses was intrigued by these curry pastes and started messing around in the kitchen with them, stirring some green paste into a classic Béchamel sauce. Voilà. This recipe is not authentic Thai food, but it is the delicious result of that experimentation. When I first discovered it, I was working at Media Exchange, and Sandra and I started making this dish regularly, coercing crew members into going to The Commissary whenever they were in Philadelphia to bring back the curry paste that was not available to us in Alexandria at that time. This recipe is so good that once I introduced Aunt Rita to it, I had to start mailing her some of my precious hoard. Now curry paste is available everywhere, so you shouldn’t have any trouble trying this recipe, which I urge you to do. Use the best chicken you can get (as if you wouldn’t).


Béchamel Sauce:

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon salt
Dash of white pepper
1 cup half and half or milk

Curry:

1½ cup broccoli flowerets
1 pound of carrots cut into matchsticks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ oz Thai green curry paste
12 oz boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ cup peanuts, dry roasted or honey roasted

Hot cooked white rice

Make a Béchamel with 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, dash of white pepper, 1 cup half and half (or milk if you must).

Blanch the broccoli and carrots in plenty of boiling water for 1 minute. Drain, and set aside. Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet or saucier. Stir in the curry paste, and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken, salt, and sugar. Stir-fry until the sugar begins to caramelize. (It’s really starting to smell good now.) Add the garlic ,and cook until it's fragrant, but don't let it burn. Add the soy sauce, and continue to stir-fry until the liquid has almost all evaporated, and the chicken is cooked through.

Blend in the Béchamel. When the sauce is smooth, add the broccoli and carrots, and heat through.

Sprinkle peanuts over the top and serve with hot cooked rice.

1 comment:

  1. I usually substitute coconut milk for the bechamel. Saves you a bit of time and effort, and lends a nice flavor to the dish.

    ReplyDelete