There was a year or so in my life when I spent a lot of time in the San Gabriel Valley in a house filled with boys. We ate a lot of burritos and a lot of pizza, and we ate a lot of take-out Thai food.
Specifically, the Karee Curry from Thai n’I in Encino. A huge portion of a coconutty yellow soup with chunks of chicken and potatoes simmered all day and served over steaming white rice. It was a little sweet from the coconut milk but had a spice that snuck up on you. Nothing much at first bite, but by the end, you’d be sweating.
I’ve been craving that sweet-spicy concoction lately. Luckily, Parisians seem to have embraced many Asian cuisines, so it wasn’t difficult to find the appropriate ingredients. My curry didn’t simmer all day, and I served it with quinoa and wheat berries instead of sticky white rice, and it probably isn’t what you’d call “authentic,” but it still brought back good memories. And that spice-sweat that sneaks up on you.
Thai Karee Curry
Makes 4-6 servings.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 onion, diced
14 ounce can full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk
3 tablespoons Thai yellow curry paste
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 cup water
3 small potatoes, diced (about 1 1/2-2 cups)
1/2 cup roasted tomatoes or diced fresh tomatoes
1-1 1/2 cups chicken, shredded or diced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
4 cups any combination of cooked white rice, brown rice, quinoa, wheat berries, barley, farro, or pretty much any other grain
parsley, chives, or cilantro for garnish (optional)
Heat the vegetable oil over medium-low heat in a large saucepan. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Sweat the onions for a few minutes until they have turned translucent.
Turn the heat up to medium-high and add a splash of the coconut milk, the curry paste, and the curry powder. Stir and cook for just a minute, until fragrant. Pour in the rest of the coconut milk and the water and stir to combine.
Add the remaining ingredients and bring the curry to a boil. Turn the heat down until it’s just at a simmer, put the lid on and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender
Serve hot over whatever grain you’ve got on hand. Add a few slices of avocado on top for cool creaminess; sprinkle with parsley, cilantro, or chives.
All curry pastes are different. If you’re not sure of the spice level of yours, omit the cayenne until the very end of the recipe, taste, and adjust the spice to your liking.
I bought a rotisserie chicken from the farmer’s market and shredded its meat for this dish, but baked or chicken breast or thighs, shredded or diced, would also work nicely.
Music to cook by: Caring is Creepy [The Shins // Oh, Inverted World]