This is a lovely dish, not my invention, with bottled condiments containing the not-so-secret Thai flavors, such as lemongrass and fermented fish, which make all the difference. Make it red, with a red pepper and red curry paste; or green, with the same items in that color. A simpatico seasonal vegetable is optional, but keep it simple; one is enough. Here’s a great moment for one of my little luxuries. When I can’t get to a farmers’ market, I stop at the supermarket on the school run for organic bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. Boy, are they delicious, and they cook fast. I roast them in 20 minutes. If you make this with cooked chicken, simply add the chicken with the basil.
1/4 c olive oil or 4 T coconut oil
1–2 T red or green Thai curry paste
2 red or green bell peppers
1 eggplant, 2 zucchini, 1 qt snow peas or 1/2 lb green beans
1 lb chicken meat
1 14-oz can of unsweetened coconut milk (not “light”)
1 c fish or chicken stock
1 T fish sauce
1 knob of ginger
1 small bunch Thai basil
cooked rice to serve
1. Dice the onions and sauté them in the olive oil or coconut oil until half-soft. Add the curry paste and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2. Cut the peppers and the other vegetable in shapes you like and pieces of even size. Add them to the onions and sauté until the vegetables soften.
3. While the vegetables are getting soft, chop or shred the chicken. Add it to the vegetables and sauté until it’s lightly brown all over.
4. Add the coconut milk, stock, fish sauce, and a grating of ginger, and stir for 1 minute.
5. Chop or shred the basil. Add it to the pot and cook until the flavors have melded, about 5 minutes. Serve it over rice.