Remember how I sorta unapologetically shared that incredible apple crisp recipe in all its caloric glory on a Monday morning? Well. I’m here to make it up to you.
There’s nothing unhealthy about this dish. It is the PERFECT thing to make on a weeknight for a variety of reasons. As I said, it’s healthy, but also easy, comforting, and counts as an entire meal in a bowl. Plus, it might make you step outside of your comfort zone. It definitely did just that for me.
I love Thai food. It’s spicy, light, and hearty all at the same time. My husband eats Thai on the regular at work. He and a coworker order lunch from a local Thai place at least once a week (possibly even more than that). It’s his favorite workweek treat. He took me there for lunch last winter, which prompted me to make this soup at home, and I fell in love with the cuisine. Admittedly, I was late to the Thai game. Prior to eating that lunch, I knew only a few things about Thai food and most consisted of something smothered in Thai sweet chili sauce. Delish but not really “authentic.”
Curries have always been a bit intimidating to me. I associated them with overly spiced, sometimes odoriferous dishes that made you sweat unpleasantly. I realize that I was completely in the wrong, given the variety of curry in general. You can make a curry and completely tailor it to your tastes. Yellow curries are some of the milder varieties, and I find that I love them full of veggies, particularly ones with some natural sweetness (bell pepper, carrots, corn, etc). I added some chicken to this version, but you could definitely leave it out (and swap the stock for veggie stock or water) to keep it vegetarian/vegan. Often, curries are served with rice. I love that too, but decided to switch it up and use rice noodles. They are perfect for soaking up the flavors of hearty sauces like the one in this dish. Plus, they’re fun to slurp! Slurping is totally acceptable in my house, for the record. I’m guessing that’s a “duh” since I talk about soup on this blog like 75% of the time…
This version is spicy (but not too hot!) and full of comforting flavors and varying textures. The curry sauce is made creamy with coconut milk, which kind of cuts the intensity of everything else going on. Given that this was one of my first attempts at homemade curry, it came out so much better than I was expecting. My husband loved it too, and happily packed up the leftovers to take to work for lunch. I’m sure he still ordered Thai food that week, as well. I meant it when I said he LOVES the Thai food.
With dishes like this, I can easily see why.
Yellow Thai Curry with Chicken & Veggies (makes 4 servings)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 lb chicken tenders, cut into cubes
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
¼ cup yellow curry paste
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 (15-oz) cans coconut milk (I use one full-fat can and one “lite” can)
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 (15-oz) can baby corn, drained and rinsed
1 Thai or jalapeño chile, stemmed and thinly sliced (I seeded/deveined mine for a less spicy version – remember, you can always add more heat but you cannot take it out!)
5 sprigs Thai basil (or regular basil)
3 kaffir lime leaves (I buy mine dried online)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 cup frozen snow peas (no need to defrost ahead)
8 oz rice noodles
Fresh cilantro, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving
Melt the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the ginger and sauté for 1 minute. Add the cubed chicken and sear until golden brown on all sides (it will not be cooked through at this point). Remove from pot, set aside, and add the onion, carrots, bell pepper, and curry paste to the pot. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. The curry paste should melt slightly and coat the veggies.
Add the coconut milk and chicken broth, stirring to combine everything, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Return the chicken to the pot, along with the baby corn, chile, basil, lime leaves, and fish sauce. Cover the pot and simmer until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes more. Add the snow peas during the last couple minutes or so just to warm them through.
Meanwhile, soak the rice noodles in hot water according to the package directions. Drain and rinse the noodles and then divide among serving bowls. Remove and discard the basil and kaffir lime leaves from the curry sauce. Ladle the sauce over the noodles and garnish with cilantro and lime wedges. Serve immediately.