Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Basil Chicken in Coconut-Curry Sauce

A little taste of Spring for you...

Aren't these white tulips gorgeous?! On Saturday a friend and I took our daughters to the Home and Garden Show. While admiring the fabulous landscaping at one of the exhibits, my daughter got pretty rambunctious. She was running around like a complete maniac. I was embarrassed and getting frustrated when a perfectly lovely man stopped to talk to my daughter. He was in charge of the exhibit. I think that he saw the exasperation on my face, because he turned to me and said, "She's fine. It's nice to see someone really enjoying life." Bless him. Then he asked my daughter if she'd like to come "around back" and select a plant to take home. Ever the budding gardener, she was ecstatic. She selected this white tulip plant. It's tightly closed little buds waved around on fragile stems across the snowy parking lot of the exhibition center, down the highway, into the house and then found a new home on our kitchen counter. We watered them and they soaked up the sunlight from my kitchen window before expressing their gratitude by blooming into this refreshing glimpse of Spring. This has absolutely nothing to do with Basil Chicken in Coconut-Curry Sauce, but I thought that you might also enjoy a little Spring in this seemingly never-ending Winter.

As for dinner, this Basil Chicken in Coconut-Curry Sauce was also a refreshing change in my rotation of American, Mexican, and Italian cuisine. I love love love Thai food and this recipe looked as if it would hold a place on the menu of one of my favorite Thai restaurants. It brings a little heat, so if you've got kiddos with sensitive taste buds, scroll down to the bottom to see a variation that allows the whole family to enjoy these ingredients together.

Here is the goal:

So first you need some chicken. Cut 4 boneless, skinless breasts into 1 inch cubes.

Now for the medley of spices: 2 teaspoons of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder.

Stir the spices together and sprinkle over your chicken. But wait! Before you sprinkle, set aside some "kid friendly" chicken. Alright, kid chicken aside, stir up the chicken and spices, cover, and refrigerate for a couple of hours to allow the spices to penetrate the meat.

Through the magic of blogging...two hours have passed. It's time to get choppin'! So finely chop 1 cup of red onion, 2 seeded jalapenos, and 4-5 cloves of garlic.

In a nonstick wok or skillet, cook and stir the veggies in hot oil for 2 minutes. Remove the mixture from the wok.

Add half of the chicken to the skillet and cook and stir until no longer pink. Remove the chicken from the skillet. Repeat with the remaining chicken and remove that too.

While the chicken is cooking, I grate a teaspoon of ginger and...

chop 3 tablespoons of basil. You'll need them in a bit.

Now for the coconut milk. This is the light version, which means that I'm saving 14 grams of fat and 130 calories per serving! Hello! No contest for me. Although, that full fat stuff...pretty darn good.

You need to stir 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into the coconut milk and then pour it into the skillet. Now cook and stir until the mixture is slightly thickened and bubbly.

Return the chicken and onion mixture to the skillet. Stir in the basil and ginger. Cook for about 2 more minutes or until heated through.

Now serve it up over hot rice. Mmmm. mmm.mmm. Okay, I'll come clean here. This was good. Really good. But it didn't hold a candle to what I've tasted at my favorite Thai restaurant. I'd make it again, for sure. It's a good knock off. But if someone offers to take me out for Thai, I'm still jumping at the chance.

Basil Chicken in Coconut-Curry Sauce adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Makes: 4 servings

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup chopped red onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 14 oz. can unsweetened light coconut milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons fresh basil
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
3 cups hot cooked rice

1. Cut chicken into 1 in. pieces. Place chicken in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, stir together the curry powder, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Sprinkle spice mixture over chicken, tossing to coat evenly. Cover and chill for 1 to 20 hours to allow spices to penetrate the meat.

2. In a large, nonstick skillet or wok cook and stir onion, garlic, and jalapeno peppers in hot oil over medium-high heat. Remove. Add half of chicken to the skillet and cook and stir for 3-4 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink. Remove. Cook remaining chicken the same and remove from the skillet.

3. Combine the coconut milk and cornstarch. Carefully add to the skillet. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Return the chicken and the onion mixture to the skillet. Stir in basil and ginger. Cook and stir about 2 minutes more until heated through. Serve over hot rice.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 365 calories, 12 g fat, 2 g fiber

WW Points: 8 per serving

And now...

Easy Cheesy Chicken and Rice

So you loved the Basil Chicken in Coconut-Curry, but what about the kids? Well, here's what I did: Cheesy Chicken and Rice

I set aside some spice-free chicken. While the curry chicken cooked in the big skillet, I cooked the plain chicken in a little skillet.

While the chicken cooked, I microwaved some peas from the freezer, then tossed those in.

Here's the brown rice that I steamed to serve with the Basil Chicken in Coconut-Curry Sauce.

Add the rice to the skillet and a slice or two of good old American singles. Remember? My family will eat anything covered in processed cheese. It's one of the things that makes us so classy.

See? Kid friendly. Now you can enjoy dinner in peace. Yeah, right. Okay, okay. Now you can enjoy dinner without your picky, dramatic kid feigning gagging or screaming, "It burns, it burns!" while wiping at her tongue or pouring water all over her face in response to a little bit of jalapeno heat.

1 comment:

Mary | Deep South Dish said...

Both of those look delicious!

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