Chicken + Vegetable Red Curry

Chicken + Veggie Red Curry

Curry [and Thai food in general] is one of my favorite foods. I spent six weeks studying abroad in Thailand my Junior year in college where I experienced the local cuisine and even participated in real Thai cooking classes. This is where my true love for Thai food came about. We spent a week in bustling Bangkok and then headed to the more laid back + tropical Phuket. Let me just say that in both cities the food was absolutely amazing! From Pad Thai to sweet coconut sticky rice with fresh mango, to a variety of curry dishes. And learning the local cooking techniques was unlike anything I’ve done before. To give you a little look into Thailand, here are a few of my favorite photos from my trip!

the streets of Bangkok, Thailand.

Thailand Streets

getting some snacks from local Thai vendors.

Thailand Vendors

the most breathtaking teal waters.

Thailand Waters

kayaking through caves and calm waters.

Thailand Kayaking

bungy jumping…what a thrill!

Bungy Jumping Thailand

So let’s talk curry. What is curry? What spices make up curry? And what flavors are unique to the Thai cuisine?

What is curry?

Curry is a savory soup or stew-like dish that is uniquely flavored with the different kinds of herbs + spices. The curry dish is native to India and South East Asia, and many of us are aware of the two main kinds: Indian curry and Thai curry. Thai curry is usually a soup-like dish consisting of creamy coconut milk, curry paste, meat + vegetables, while Indian curries are typically much thicker and different in flavor because of the different herbs and spices used.

Curry can be an extremely healthy dish which includes healthy fats from coconut milk, high-quality protein and a variety of vegetables providing many vitamins, nutrients and fiber.

Flavors of curry.

The key ingredients in the majority of Thai curry pastes include:

[1] chilies

[2] lemongrass

[3] galangal [Thai ginger]

[4] garlic

[5] shallot

[6] kaffir lime

How spicy do you like your curry?

Curries can range from super spicy to mild depending on the chilies used, the method of preparation and what’s served along with it. Typically the green curry is the hottest, with red curry as the runner up. But spiciness can vary depending on the brand of curry paste you use, or how you prepare the paste if making it homemade. When cooked, the heat level can depend on the ratio of curry paste to coconut milk [the more coconut milk to curry paste, the milder your curry will be]. Also, adding sweeter veggies like squash or sweet potatoes, or serving it alongside some rice can lessen the overall spiciness.

 [vegetable medley.]

Red Curry Vegetables

I love the combo of onions and garlic as a flavor component along with the sweet butternut squash and mild bok choy. The great thing about curries is that really any veggie combo will work well. The more veggies the better in my opinion.

 [baby bok choy + cubed butternut squash.]

bok choy + squash

Once your chicken is no longer pink and the onions and garlic have become tender, it’s time to add in the rest of the goods. First comes the veggies, then the curry paste, fish sauce and coconut milk. Once all the ingredients are combined, your curry is really starting to take shape. It’s looking like a curry and definitely smelling like one, yum!

 [chicken cooked with onions + garlic until no longer pink.]

Sauted Chicken Thighs

The great thing about making curry homemade is that you can get some great store-bought products that closely resemble real Thai flavors. I love the Thai® Kitchen brand for my curry pastes. They have simple, authentic ingredients without adding preservatives and chemicals like many other store-bought sauces. And I know you’re probably a little skeptical of the fish sauce, but just a Tablespoon in this recipe can make a huge difference in flavor. It won’t make your curry taste like fish either, but it does give it some extra flavor and saltiness. Then by now you probably know my love for coconut milk! To me a curry is not a curry unless the base is coconut milk. It provides creaminess, heartiness and just the right amount of sweet to counteract the salty, spicy curry.

 [the makings of a semi-authentic red curry.]

Curry Sauce

The final step is to add in some frozen peas. I add them last so their texture remains slightly crunchy without become soggy and mushy. Doesn’t this dish look so good? This curry is definitely going on my meal plan for next week! Check out the recipe + full directions below! And don’t forget to let me know what you though about this recipe in the comments at the end of this post 🙂

 [mmmmm..dig in.]

Chicken + Vegetable Red Curry

Chicken + Vegetable Red Curry

servings: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil [I like this brand]
  • 1-1.5 pounds organic chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat + cubed [about 5 chicken thighs]
  • about 1 cup butternut squash, peeled + cubed
  • ½ onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • about 5 baby bok choy, chopped
  • 1 small package frozen peas
  • 1 13.5 oz. can full fat, unsweetened coconut milk [this is my go-to brand]
  • 3 Tbsp red curry paste [this Thai Kitchen brand is what I use]
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • sea salt + black pepper to taste

Directions

In large pot, heat coconut oil on medium-high. Add chicken thighs, onion + garlic. Sauté for 5-8 minutes until chicken is no longer pink and onion + garlic is tender. Add butternut squash + bok choy, cook for about 5 minutes until squash becomes slightly tender [it will not be cooked all the way yet]. Add coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce and water. Stir until all ingredients are combined. Bring mixture to a boil, cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes. Uncover, add peas + lime juice and cook until peas are defrosted, about 3 minutes. Taste curry and add sea salt + black pepper if needed.

Serving suggestion: can eat this curry as-is or serve over ½ cup cooked quinoa or brown rice. 

For a vegetarian meal, omit the chicken and add garbanzo beans instead.

[delicious.]

Chicken + Veggie Red Curry

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chicken + Vegetable Red Curry
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • 1-1.5 pounds organic chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat + cubed [about 5 chicken thighs]
  • about 1 cup butternut squash, peeled + cubed
  • ½ onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • about 5 baby bok choy, chopped
  • 1 small package frozen peas
  • 1 13.5 oz. can full fat, unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3 Tbsp red curry paste [the Thai Kitchen brand is what I use]
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • sea salt + black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In large pot, heat coconut oil on medium-high.
  2. Add chicken thighs, onion + garlic. Sauté for 5-8 minutes until chicken is no longer pink and onion + garlic is tender.
  3. Add butternut squash + bok choy, cook for about 5 minutes until squash becomes slightly tender [it will not be cooked all the way yet].
  4. Add coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce and water.
  5. Stir until all ingredients are combined.
  6. Bring mixture to a boil, cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes.
  7. Uncover, add peas + lime juice and cook until peas are defrosted, about 3 minutes.
  8. Taste curry and add sea salt + black pepper if needed.
  9. Serving suggestion: can eat this curry as-is or serve over ½ cup cooked quinoa or brown rice.
  10. For a vegetarian meal, omit the chicken and add garbanzo beans instead.

Did you try this curry? Let me know what you thought! 🙂

Related posts from Nutritiously Rooted:

Angela Freed

2 Comments

  1. This is SOOO GOOD Angela! Thanks for the inspiration! I have never cooked with bok choy before today. I had to do some modifications based on what was available in my fridge and it came out wonderful using zucchini rather than butternut, and lentils rather than peas. It was pretty easy too! I can’t wait to try it out on my husband.

    • Thanks, Cat! I’m so glad you liked it! I love the additions and changes that you made too! I’d love to try it with lentils sometime 🙂

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