Ok I can't stop! I want to travel again!!! Okay, I'm done. I know that we will be able to soon (I have faith!) so I am just going to my memories alive. Along that theme, my next memory comes from Thailand...Koh Samui to be exact. That was my first time to Thailand and the reason that I chose that destination is because my brother chose that location for his honeymoon and absolutely fell in love with it. Ironically, when I lived in Japan, we had a really good friend that we met there that was also an expat pilot who decided to buy a condo in Koh Samui for when he was not working and as an investment. He had a commuter contract so he would get 15 consecutive days off each month and while most expats would go back to their home country...Thailand was much closer of a commute than Seattle (where he lived). The rest of the time he would rent it out. Super smart and once I was able to visit Koh Samui for the first time, made complete sense. It was literally a paradise! Check out where I stayed for the week!!
Paradise...am I right??! Well you know the best thing when to do when you can't actually go anywhere...eat something that reminds you of the place.Two things immediately come to mind! One, amazing fresh mango sold by street vendors and sprinkled with this magical spice blend that basically creates a magical experience! I had a similar item at the Santa Monica pier when I lived in LA for a bit but it was more Mexican inspired than Thai but equally great. Two, the amazing Thai food! Everyone there rode Vespas and it was so much fun...just scooting around trying out restaurants.
I had a request recently on Facebook for an easy green curry recipe and I have an awesome one! The whole recipe takes no time at all - literally, the most time consuming part of it is cutting up the vegetables. Luckily, I have an pretty awesome food mandoline which gives me amazing vegetable cuts in no time at all. JUST BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR FINGERS. Long, gruesome story of an AirBnB stay gone wrong and I will NEVER take my finger safety for granted again!!! Luckily, my mandoline came with a pretty legit guard. Knife safety people! I will add a link to my favorite things if you guys are looking for one! The other thing that I use is a pre-made Thai curry paste. You can certainly make your own but why would you want to?? The products that they have are authentic and usually made with ingredients that you don't have easy access to and/or don't necessary want to keep an excess of so pre-made ones work really well here.
The best part?? This dish is so colorful due to all the plentiful, fresh and gorgeous vegetables. The other great thing about this dish is that you can really use up lots of vegetables that you might have left in your fridge (i.e. eggplant, summer squash, zucchini, green beans, broccoli, etc...). I used what I had on hand in the recipe below but this could easily work with any of those I listed above. The only trick to know is that you want your vegetables to be par cooked - still somewhat crunchy so throw them in to the curry accordingly. The curry acts like a poaching liquid so you can easily add vegetables that don't take long to cook and add them in at the last minute so that you don't accidentally overcook them.
The other thing to note about this recipe...I added chicken to it but you can easily substitute the protein with something else...shrimp works great here. Or you can omit it altogether and make it veggies or tofu only. The other thing is that this is dairy free as it is made with coconut milk. This used to be one of my main weekly dishes when I was vegan because it is super flavorful, full of veggies and can easily be made with extra firm tofu or on it's own!
Gorgeous right?? Allllmost too pretty to eat! I said almost!
Thai Green Chicken Curry
2 Tbsp coconut oil, separated
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in thin slices
2 to 3 Thai green chilies, sliced lengthwise
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 shallot, small, sliced thinly
1 1/2 cups red bell peppers, sliced thinly
5 to 6 broccolini stalks, split lengthwise if large so they are relatively the same size
10 to 12 sugar snap peas, split open
1 large carrot, sliced in thin rounds
1 green onion, sliced on a bias (keep green ends for garnish)
3 Tbsp Thai Green Curry paste (found in the International aisle at the grocery store)
1 can coconut milk, full fat
small handful of fresh basil, Thai, if you can find it
freshly squeezed lime, to taste
salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
cucumber, thinly sliced (optional garnish)
red Thai peppers, thinly sliced (optional garnish)
Heat 1 Tbsp of coconut oil in a wok or deep skillet. Add chicken to pan and cook for a few minutes until almost cooked all the way. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and add the green chilies, shallot, bell peppers, carrots, green onions. Cook for about 30 seconds, then add the ginger and garlic. Cook for another minute until everything gets fragrant. Vegetables should still be crunchy.
Add the Thai Green Curry paste and cook for a minute until everything comes together.
Add the coconut milk to the pan and mix thoroughly. Let the curry cook for a few minutes until bubbling hot. Squeeze in some fresh lime.
Add in the broccolini and the snap peas along with the chicken that you par cooked earlier. Let everything poach in the hot curry until the chicken is finished cooking fully - approximately another 3 to 4 minutes. Take care not to overcook the vegetables. Stir in the basil leaves a few seconds before serving.
Serve hot over jasmine rice. Top with all the garnishes - red Thai peppers, green onions, cucumbers, more basil and a squeeze of lime!
This may not be like having it in Thailand, but it definitely hits the right notes. I hope that you get a chance to make this at home and tailor it to your tastes and the vegetables that you have on hand. As always, enjoy!!