Tasty, Tasty Thai
January 19, 2011, 12:57 am
Filed under: Easy but not quick, Poultry, South Asian

I love Thai food. That delicious combination of heat and herbs and creamy coconut,balanced with sticky rice and cool, crisp vegetables…YUM. Statesboro, Georgia is not exactly a culinary mecca. If you want Thai you have to make it yourself,from ingredients horded and carefully rationed until the next trip to Atlanta, where one can restock on lemongrass and bird chilis. In the mean time, I like those premade curry pastes. You can throw together pretty quickly a Thai-approximating meal that heathens like mine will never know that it’s a Southern White Lady’s attempt at being exotic. All you need are a few ingredients that happen to keep FOREVER in the fridge.

coconut milk, limes, fish sauce, massaman curry paste, peanut butter

With these ingredients you can make a delicious marinade for chicken, and a peanut sauce to dip the cooked chicken into.

For the marinade:
3/4 can of coconut milk (the rest will go into the peanut sauce)NOT Coco Lopez coconut stuff…unsweetened coconut milk!!
2 tablespoons massaman curry paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
juice of 1 lime
Mix everything together in a gallon ziploc bag and add
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips.
Let this sit for a couple of hours, then thread the chicken onto skewers and grill or broil.

The chicken is marinating in the bag.

For the peanut sauce
Mix in a small pot
The remainder of the can of coconut milk
about 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
about 1/4 cup red onion diced very small
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons of massaman curry paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon palm sugar (or turbinado or plain ol’ white if you live in Statesboro, Ga)
juice of 1 lime
Warm slowly over low heat until it is bubbly. Serve on the side with the grilled chicken skewers. You can also add the leftover marinade from the chicken, since you’re cooking it anyway.

Yummy peanut sauce!

I like to serve this with sticky rice or regular white rice, sliced raw cabbage (my husband likes to take a cabbage leave and wrap it around some rice and a piece of chicken like a little package) and peanut sauce.

Terry likes it as a cabbage packet

Now, in this household, one member is allergic to coconut. So, in order to accomodate his needs and love of all food Thai, I simply replace the coconut milk in all these recipes with homemade chicken broth. Granted, it’s not quite the same, but it works for him. I make his own little bag of marinade and his own little pot of peanut sauce.

Here’s how you make sticky rice! I remember the first time I tried to make it, I had no idea that you didn’t fix it the same way you made any other kind of rice, and I wound up with a gelatinous and amorphous mass of white goo. Tasty white goo, but definitely not rice-like. So…here’s what you do:
First, make sure you have the right kind of rice. It’s also called sweet rice or sticky rice or glutinous rice.
Measure out about 1 cup of rice per person and wash it really good- keep rinsing it until the water runs clear.
Then put it in a pot and cover it with water by about 2 inches above the rice.
Let it soak 4 hours or so (more won’t hurt it)
Drain the rice and put it in a steamer basket. They suggest lining the basket with cheesecloth, but I have never done this because I never have cheesecloth.
Put a few inches of water in a large pot and set the steamer basket on top.
Cover with a lid and turn on the stove to medium high.
Steam the rice for 45 minutes or so, until the rice is done and has kind of a translucent quality. It will be nice and sticky (easy to eat with chopsticks!)

Nicely cooked sticky rice

There are many different Thai curry pastes you can buy. Massaman is the mildest and Green curry is the hottest…like NUCLEAR hot. BOOM SWEATY HOT.
They are all delicious, and a bit different from each other, and I have made the recipe above using all of them. If you get the big tub of paste, theyhave recipes on the label that are tasty as well. This bit I’ve come up with is my own Southern White Version that my friend Hae Jun approved of, saying it was “not bad for someone who has never had real Thai” then she took me to a restaurant in Atlanta where I got to experience the real thing. A while later I took Terry (my beloved husband) there, pretty sure he’d love the stuff. He, of course,had to be The Man and order it Hot. The waiter (who was also the cook at that time) looked sceptical and asked if he was sure. Terry did some metaphorical chest thumping and said “absolutely!” When the food was brought out, it was all Terry could do to eat it without a complete meltdown. Afterward he told the cook/waiter that “hot really means hot, doesn’t it.” and the waiter/cook replied “Actually, I brought you the medium. white folks can’t handle the real thing.” Terry thanked him for his kindness and left a big tip.


2 Comments so far
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I feel strongly that you need some sriracha in your repertoire, if it’s not there already; it’s not Thai, but I can’t make a batch of Thai curry without it … or much of anything else for that matter (scrambled eggs plus sriracha = magic). It’ll stand in pretty nicely for those missing bird chilies 🙂

Comment by emvandee

OH! I have some-a that! It’s amazing on eggs and in chili…also have this jar of some kind of chili paste with garlic in it which is fabulous on tamales…I just forgot about it. Those premade curry pastes are purty hot all on their own. I also use Sriracha in cheese crackers/straws because it makes them kind of pinkish and pretty.

Comment by rootietoot

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