Wednesday, February 12

Pretty Much Authentic Thai

I'm telling you right now, this stuff is good. And if you ask me, it really tasted like authentic Thai (which was really exciting!!!).

I was pretty apprehensive to try this out to be honest, being a lover of Thai food and doubting my personal ability to match the distinct taste of Thai, but after successfully executing the last couple of new recipes I tried, I figured, why not? Now the only con with this dish that I can think of is that some of the ingredients required are not ones you would typically purchase. So if you're a cheap-o like I usually am, you may want to save this dish for a special occasion when you feel like splurging (it wasn't that much though, and at least with a few of the ingredients, they should last you a while once you buy a bottle or jar.)

The recipe I was looking at came from Pinterest (of course) and suggested making it in a slow cooker. While I had originally intended to do that, after reading the comments, I decided I wasn't going to be able to wait four hours. So, as per usual, I improvised. And either I got really lucky or I'm just a decent chef because it turned out stupendous! I am only saying this because I was very surprised that it was as good as it was. Also, I cut the recipe in half possibly because I did not expect it to live up to my high expectations of Thai food but I'm giving you the full recipe because you will most likely want to have more. Anyway--no time to waste--here it is: 
Chicken. I bought just regular old sliced chicken in a package. I think normal people slice up raw chicken meat before cooking it but well, frankly I hate touching raw chicken so I wait until it's cooked mostly and then sever it into pieces (which is way harder, but at least I'm salmonella-free). Also, I would probably have liked to have more chicken next time because it was really good, but any amount will suffice if you cut it up enough. 
2 cups chicken broth. The original recipe said chicken stock. I didn't know what that was, but chicken broth worked like a charm so I don't see the problem.
1 onion, chopped
1 heaping Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 red or orange bell pepper, sliced
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 12oz. cans of coconut milk
2 Tablespoons red curry paste (with a sprinkle of regular curry--at least, that's what I did)
2 Tablespoons peanut butter (or peanut oil works I've heard, but hey, I wasn't buying that when I already have 4 containers of peanut butter here)
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 fresh limes (for juice)
Fresh cilantro
Salted cashews, chopped

White rice OR Maifun rice sticks (which are noodles)

*Truthfully, I was a mad woman with this recipe and didn't measure anything except the brown sugar (as shown in the picture). I completely estimated, which is kind of dumb and risky for a first-time attempt at a new recipe, but, like I said, it turned out so I probably got lucky. I felt like a real chef though just tossing junk in so that must be worth something. 

I cooked this recipe in a skillet (awesome wedding present--thanks Jared and Maren!) because it has a lot more space than a frying pan and I don't like dirtying up multiple pans or dishes unnecessarily (well, who truly does when you are the dishwasher...). 

Add the chicken (sliced) to your pan or skillet and cook, flipping it over to cook it through. Then mix in the chicken broth, chopped onions, minced ginger, sliced bell pepper, and let cook for a little while. Next, mix in the fish sauce (which smelled horrible at first--I thought, Oh no! The dish is ruined!), the brown sugar, the coconut milk (which was part liquid, part condensed stuff, which worried me that I got the wrong thing, but I think that's how it's supposed to be), the red curry paste, and the peanut butter. Stir things around quite a bit. (I read that the coconut milk can curdle if you don't stir it well). You're sauce should be a creamy orangey color and will start to smell amazing if you're doing it right. 

Meanwhile, in another pot, cook up some white rice or if you want to perpetuate the Thai theme, use rice sticks, which are inexpensive and very good with the meal. Rice or rice sticks take about ten minutes to cook so plan accordingly. 
Once you feel that things back in the pan or skillet are cooked through well, stir in the frozen peas and cook for a while longer. I tasted a pea to decide when they were done. Just make sure that they're squishy to the touch at least. 

The last ingredients may seem like they are just for appearances, but I would not skip out on them because I think in some ways, they make the dish. They can, however, be added after the sauce is complete. I did squeeze lime juice in while cooking and also after I dished it. The fresh cilantro on top was awesome, as were the salty cashew pieces. And the lime juice definitely creates noticeable zest. 
The flavors of this dish are incredible. If you like pad Thai, I'm fairly certain you will love this. It made it into our top ten favorite dishes that I make. That's a pretty impressive feat in itself. 

Shopping List- Here is a list of ingredients and locations to help you shop:

I bought the Thai ingredients at Wal-Mart in the Raman Noodles aisle and they were all in the same location (the can of coconut milk, fish sauce bottle, jar of red curry paste, and rice sticks--which cost about the same as regular spaghetti but seems to make a lot more). The fish sauce and red curry paste should last a while and were less than $3 each. If you wanted to make the dish again, you would probably just need to get coconut milk, possibly more rice sticks (though next time I won't cook the whole package), and the fresh stuff.
I bought the ginger root, onion, bell pepper, cilantro and 2 limes in the produce section. 
I bought the sliced chicken breast in the meat department. 
And don't forget the chicken broth and cashews

I already had brown sugar, peanut butter, and frozen peas (and the chicken broth, bell pepper, and lime, but that was just by chance). 
Picture of all the ingredients together
And one more pic of the final dish for good measure. 
Please do not hesitate to ask any questions about this recipe in the comments below! 
Also, I would love to hear if you try it out or make any changes. (You won't regret it!)

1 comment:

  1. i loooove asian food, so i'm definitely going to try this! (and i'll be pinning it.)


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