I've thought about Thai Red Curry for a while now. I don't go out for Thai food because of all the sugar and questionable oils, and the gluten factor. For some reason, it's just taken me a while to get around to creating my own.
While we were in Hawaii, we were staying in this sweet little cottage that had the most incredible garden. In addition to the abundance of fruit trees (cacao, papaya, oranges, limes and lemons), there was also a seriously fantastic herb garden. We're talking lemongrass, green onions, kaffir lime and even hot peppers. Combine that with the coconuts that were falling daily in the funky windy weather we had, it's almost as if the planet was saying "Hey Meghan, it's time to make that Thai Red Curry - here is everything you need to do it."
So I did and it was unbelievably delicious. I had the time to do the whole thing from scratch and it was total perfection.
As it's been some time since I shared a full meal deal recipe, I wanted to bring these amazing flavours to you but in a simplified way. I have made this a couple of times since we returned home and it has remained an all-time favourite, with just the right amount of kick, tang, spice, sweetness and most perfect feeling of satiation.
I love a hearty one pot meal that truly satisfies and nourishes at the same time. This version also allows you to add the vegetables you love most (or have on hand), add the amount of spice you want (or don't want), customize the protein (both organic tofu and chicken work well), and even enjoy it as a thicker dish over rice or as a rich and warming soup.
EasyThai Red Curry Over Rice
This was the first version I did. The main difference between this one and the soup pictured below is that I used only two cups (one organic can) of coconut milk here. Where in the soup, I used four cups.
EasyThai Red Curry Soup
As I am not big on eating a lot of grains these days, and I personally loved the soup a little more. It's completely a personal preference thing.
You can make your own red curry paste for this if you want, but I am very happy with the ready-made one that comes in a glass jar from Thai Kitchen. It's not organic, but is gluten-free, super clean and delicious. Though I rarely take short cuts with my cooking, this one I'd recommend.
There Are Actual Nutrition Studies on Red Curry Paste
I have said it before and I'll say it again, you can find research to prove whatever you'd like to prove. We know ginger is good for us, and we know that hot foods have their own unique set of health benefits. I don't think anyone doubts that a fresh Thai Red Curry is good for you, but I didn't expect there to actually be a study on the benefits of Thai Red Curry paste - yet there is.
A study tested the anti-inflammatory effects of a red curry paste extract on a specific type of endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide-activated murine macrophage). An endotoxin is a toxin made by the body, typically by way of usual metabolic processes. This specific endotoxin is from the gut and is produced from bacteria. It activates a white blood cell, the macrophage. In short - it's an endotoxin that can trigger the immune system.
The study found that the collection of spices in Thai Red Curry paste extract decreased inflammation significantly. But we already knew this, didn't we? Herbs and spices are nature's super foods.
And now we know for sure that Thai Red Curry isn't just music to your tastebuds, it's a seriously powerful anti-inflammatory combination.
Go ahead and make this delicious wonder. It has a such a delicious and unique flavour profile. I love that it's loaded with veggies, too. As for the white napkin along with it, I wouldn't recommend trying that at home.
Yield: 6 servings
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 Tbp finely grated fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cans* (14-ounce/400 mL each) of organic, full fat coconut milk
- 2-3 Tbsp of Thai Kitchen Red Curry paste
- ½ bunch of cilantro (stems and leaves), washed and coarsely chopped
- 2 stalks of lemongrass, halved lengthwise, woody leaves removed
- 1 cup water
- 2 Tbsp gluten-free tamari
- the zest and juice of 2 limes
- 1 7-ounce block of organic tofu or 2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin 2-inch long strips
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal into ¼-inch wide rounds
- 1 head of broccoli, coarsely chopped into florets (about 1½ cups)
- 4-5 kale leaves, removed from stem and cut in thin strips
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- Red chili paste or hot sauce to taste if you want more heat
- Garnish: chopped fresh cilantro leaves and crushed cashews
- Option: 1 cup brown basmati rice, cooked as instructed on package, or an 8 ounce package rice noodles, cooked as directed on package
- In a large pot, heat the oil and add ginger and garlic. Cook until aromatic, about 5 minutes.
- Open one can of coconut milk and scoop out the cream from the top of the can and add to pan. Stir in the curry paste until full mixed.
- Add what's left in your first tin of coconut milk (and add the second one if you're making the soup option), cilantro, lemongrass, tamari and one cup of water. Let that simmer.
- If using chicken, cook it in a separate pan just until it's no longer pink on the outside.
- Add chicken or tofu to the pot along with lime juice, zest, red pepper, carrots, broccoli, kale and green onion. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.
- Taste and add chilli paste for desired heat.
- Serve over brown basmati rice or noodles and garnish with fresh cilantro and chopped cashews.