December 04, 2009
to cut through the dark winter blues. I find myself craving sunny, citrusy, and warm foods this time of year, and
sometimes longing to be far away from the cold. So recently I ended up with some nice organic chicken thighs and a
can of pineapple, wondering what to cook. I still have plenty of wonderful Indian yellow curry powder in the
pantry, which is flavorful and complex. And I’ve got a bunch of veggies in the fridge. So with a can of
coconut milk and some spices, we’ve got an awesome coconut chicken yellow curry in the
exactly following an Indian, Thai, or other specific recipe. I tried this recipe and loved how it came out, but
there is always room for change and refinement. So feel free to make substitutions, fiddle with ratios, and
otherwise make this curry your own.
But I would respond that each curry is different, and it is fun to explore similar but distinctly different
dishes. If you would like to incorporate local ingredients, look for garlic, onions, and carrots from a root
cellar or local farmer with cold storage. And for vegetarians, try adding in tofu if you’d like or
substitute potatoes and squash instead, which can also be hunted down locally all year.
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most recent version of this Pinapple Coconut Chicken Curry dish we will need:
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chicken thighs or other bone-in cut of mean, preferably skin-on
style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">-1 or two carrots, sliced into ½”
stems snapped off
pineapple, including juice
full fat coconut milk (don’t mess around with the flavorless light stuff)
"margin: 0in 0in 0pt">-About 2-3 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
very fine (I think it is hard to overdo the ginger and garlic in this recipe)
adds tartness, the zest has the essential oils and holds up well to the heat of cooking)
"margin: 0in 0in 0pt">-1-2 tablespoons spicy yellow curry powder (I am still
using the special village blend I brought back from South India in 2005. Thankfully customs didn’t ask about
the kilo of powder bundled up into little packets! I recommend finding a finer blend than generic big box store
curry powder. Try ordering online or finding a specialty spice shop for the really good stuff.)
style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">-1 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">-1/2 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">-1/4 teaspoon whole coriander seeds (these are the
fruits of the cilantro plant)
cup fresh cilantro, chopped (or you could go for basil if you prefer that Thai curry style. It is also ok to leave
both fresh herbs out)
pepper, chopped up fine (optional)
style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">-a pinch of salt or a splash of soy sauce, to
"font-size: 14pt"> OK, let’s take out a nice, big, high walled frying
pan or pot and get cooking! To start a proper curry, at least the Indian way, we will toast the chili pepper with
whole seed spices in oil over a fairly high flame until they sputter and jump, popping open from the heat. Next,
add in the chopped onion and continue to cook over a high heat. Clear a space in the onions and lay in your
chicken pieces skin side down.
all the way through. So let it brown on each side, turning as needed. Once it has a nice crust all over, remove
the chicken and onions and set aside.
style="font-size: 14pt">Now pour in some of the fat from the can of coconut milk, and about 1/3 of the can of
milk as well. Heat this over a medium heat and simmer the minced garlic and ginger. After that has cooked for a
few minutes, stirring continually, add in the celery and carrots to sauté. Wait a little while before
adding the peppers, because they won’t take as long to cook. And we will save the green beans until the very
end, so they have some crunch when we serve the curry.
back the chicken and onions and pour over the rest of the coconut milk. Now stir in the curry powder and turmeric,
which might actually be easier before you add the chicken. Finally, add the can of crushed pineapple and the fish
sauce, along with a little salt or soy sauce if needed. Oh, and I really like some extra tanginess to cut through
the sweet, so I’ll add lime juice and some zest. If you think the pineapple is tart enough, trust your
everything together. This looks bright and colorful and smells incredible! The liquid should almost comer over the
chicken entirely. If it does not, feel free to add in some water to the pan. Bring the liquid up almost to a boil,
then reduce it down to a low simmer. We are cooking chicken with the bone in, which will fall apart into succulent
pieces if we cook it low and slow. So I’d recommend just forgetting the curry and letting it cook for an
hour or so, or until everything is tender. Just turn over the chicken every 20 minutes or so.
style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; text-indent: 0.5in">About 10 minutes before you are
ready to eat, remove the chicken from the curry. Add in the green beans so they get a chance to wilt. Also stir in
the chopped cilantro. Now, using two forks, pull all the chicken meat off of the bones. Discard the bones, skin,
and gristle. This step is optional, but it will make the curry much easier to eat and I like the presentation
better. Add the meat back to the pot and stir.
while the curry is simmering. I am a big fan of the rice maker. This cheap appliance makes perfect rice every
time, and is surprisingly convenient.
style="font-size: 14pt">Once the green beans are cooked just barely al dente, serve up heaping bowls of this
sweet/spicy coconut chicken curry over rice. Add a bit more chopped cilantro on top for a colorful presentation,
and a dollop of plain yogurt if you need to cut the heat of the dish.
wonderful southeast Asian flavors. It is spicy, but also wonderfully creamy and sweet. It is definitely my
American take on curry, but I think you’ll find it transports your tongue far away. I’d love to hear
what recipes you’ve picked up on your travels. Email me at email@example.com. Cooking local in the KOHO Kitchen, I’m Isaac Kaplan-