When we go to a Thai restaurant I pretty much know what I’m going to order before I walk in the door…
My favorite is a little place called “Malee’s Thai Bistro” in Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona. They have wonderful things on their menu and I’ve actually ventured out and tried many of them, but I always land back on my familiar staple: CURRY. Malee’s has such good curry that I’ve considered moving our family across the street (or as close as possible) so I can have a steady intake of this delicious dish. Then I think about how much I hate packing. And moving. And how expensive Old Town Scottsdale properties are. And how eating out everyday is not in the budget. All these excuses make me want to move there more. No, I don’t have issues. Why do you ask?
My husband opens this Thai menu and scans through it to find the golden words, “Peanut Sauce” somewhere in the pages. He loves peanut butter in these savory, South-Asian dishes. Peanut butter floats my boat more in sweet dishes than savory ones, so I stick with my curry preference and steal a bite of his if I’m interested.
The worst is when you end up liking what your dining companion ordered more than what you ordered. Secretly you wish you could switch dishes with them. This doesn’t happen at Malee’s as I know I want the curry and I’d be happy with no tastes of anything else if I can have it. However, there have been occasions at other restaurants where I regret my order and find myself longing for another’s food. Again, no, I don’t have issues. What are you talking about?
I set out to find a good-lookin’ curry recipe to satisfy both my husband and I’s cravings.
I found it!
Red Curry Peanut Sauce. You can serve it with chicken, beef, shrimp or tofu. I went with chicken and served it over brown rice for a little whole-grain kick.
What is curry exactly?
“Curry” can mean a variety of things, depending on the context.
Curry might refer to a leaf. There are curry trees (no, really!) They originated in Sri Lanka and India, and their leaves are roasted or dried and are made into a spice mix. This spice mix is used to flavor–you guessed it– CURRIES! Sometimes, instead of making a spice mix, the leaves are added to oil at the beginning of cooking to infuse their flavor throughout the dish.
Curry might also refer to a spice mix (curry powder or paste). While I might run to the Albertson’s on the corner and pick up a little container of “Curry Powder” or “Curry Paste”, home cooks in southern Asia would probably concoct their own blend of spices (depending on the region they live in) to make a curry powder. Most of these mixes include cumin, fenugreek, turmeric, coriander, and red pepper. You can make your own “Curry Powder” with these spices and even add in some additional ingredients if you’re feeling brave to make your own special version. You could also make your own curry paste. I found a recipe here that you could try, but I can’t guarantee anything about it as I’ve never tried it. You could probably tweak it a bit depending on the ingredients you happen to have on hand. Again, I’m guessing.
Finally, curry can refer to the dish one is making… sauce, meat and or vegetable, and rice or noodles. The sauce is known for being thick like gravy, but its spiciness can vary depending on how you make it.
So, all this in mind… LET’S MAKE CURRY!!! (the dish)
Start by chopping up some green onions…
Then measure out some mince some fresh, peeled ginger.
I used just one of the “knobs” (as they’re called) you see below…
Measure out some CREAMY peanut butter.
Then measure out some red curry paste… (or make your own if you’re feeling brave)…
Juice a couple of limes…
Mince up some garlic…
And you should be prepped and ready-to-go after you grab a few more fridge/ pantry ingredients!
Now, to COOK the CURRY!
Start by adding a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil (non-flavored oil… like canola) to a large saucepan over medium heat.
Add in the garlic, ginger, and green onions and sauté them for a few minutes …
Then stir in the red curry paste for about 1 minute…
Whisk in the peanut butter…
Then add in unsweetened coconut milk and low-sodium chicken broth (I measured them together in a liquid measurer for easy adding), a tablespoon of sugar and soy sauce (sugar first, then the soy sauce so the sugar doesn’t stick all over your tablespoon!), and some freshly ground black pepper…
You bring the whole thing to a boil and then turn the heat down so it simmers. Whisk and add in some more broth as you feel is needed to thin out the sauce. Let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes to let it reduce, thicken, and to allow the flavors to combine. If you add more broth after this point, let it cook for at least a couple minutes more to incorporate it into the sauce mixture.
**If you are making the sauce AHEAD of time (which you can do at this point), I would say add only 1/4 cup or less and then let the sauce cool completely before storing it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. When you re-heat the sauce, thin it out by whisking in more broth as needed. If you are making the sauce for tonight’s dinner, just whisk and add in broth until you’ve reached a consistency you’re happy with.
When you’re happy with the consistency, stir in the fresh lime juice you squeezed and finish it off with a bunch of chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley, if that’s what you have on hand like I did)…
Taste and season the sauce with salt and/or pepper and whatever else you think it needs more of!! And… you’re done!
I served this sauce over rice with cubed chicken that we grilled (the less cooking inside on the stove the better!!)…
Top it off with some more chopped fresh cilantro or parsley if you like.
Click HERE for the official recipe if you didn’t catch it earlier.
This Red Curry Peanut Sauce not only satisfied both my love for curry and my husband’s love for peanut sauce… it also satisfied our budget at the low price of $2.75 per serving. WOO HOO!!
Here’s to PEANUT BUTTER! (And curry!)