Alright, confession time.
While I USUALLY make the effort to source obscure ingredients and make dishes authentically…. I’ve started dabbling in jarred curry pastes!
Traditional Thai curry paste isn’t difficult to make, but it does use some hard to find ingredients, like galangal (a relative of ginger), shrimp paste, lemongrass, and kaffir lime.
Enter, pre-made curry pastes. There are a few well-known brands commonly found online and in grocery stores, like Mae Ploy, Thai Kitchen, or Maesri. They’re relatively inexpensive, and can make curry on a weeknight a real possibility.
I think of all the curries, green curry is my favorite.
It’s made with a mix of spicy green chilis, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime, and various seasonings, like basil, coriander, cumin, turmeric, shallot, and/or shrimp paste.
It’s fragrant, spicy, and fresh tasting, and is perfectly tempered by cooling creamy coconut milk.
So I’m SUPER excited that jarred green curry pastes are available to make curries quick and accessible. They’re inexpensive, don’t contain any chemical preservatives, and can easily be stored in the fridge for future uses.
Fair warning- green curry paste is SPICY!
The main ingredient is spicy green chili, so watch out! I can tolerate about 2 tablespoons of curry paste per can of coconut milk before it gets overwhelmingly spicy. Two tablespoons of the Mae Ploy green curry paste gives the curry a nice spicy back-end flavor, but doesn’t blow out your taste buds. The Thai Kitchen brand is a little less spicy, but still yummy.
The secret to rounding out the spicy curry is fat and a little sugar. Full fat coconut milk and creamy cashews quell the spice, and just a bit of sugar helps give it balance. Add in some cooked chicken, beans, and vegetables, and you’ve got yourself a delicious, nutritious, filling meal.
Green Cashew Chicken Curry
- 2 cups white or brown jasmine rice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 yellow onion, cut into 1-inch dice
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced into half-moons
- 2 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced into half-moons
- 2 tablespoons green curry paste, like Mae Ploy (or less, if you don't like spicy)
- 1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15 oz can full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce, or tamari, if gluten free
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 limes, halved
- 1 cup roasted salted cashews, roughly chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro, minced
- Before you start cooking the curry, get the rice going. Either cook it in a rice cooker, or according to package instructions on the stove. Generally, combine 2 cups rice with 4 cups water in a small lidded saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, covered, until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed. Exact time will vary depending on whether using white or brown rice. When the rice is done, set aside for later.
- While the rice cooks, start the curry. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season the cubed chicken pieces with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the skillet and saute, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until cooked through and lightly golden. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside for later.
- Next, add another 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, and carrot and cook, stirring often (so as to not burn the garlic), for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is softened and not yet browned. Add the zucchini and cook for another few minutes, until it starts to get a little color but is still firm.
- Add the curry paste and stir to distribute and cook slightly in the oil. Next, add the garbanzo beans, coconut milk, water, soy sauce, and sugar. Add the cooked chicken back to the pan, and stir to distribute. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or so, until the carrot and zucchini are tender, and everything is warmed through.
- To serve, place some cooked rice in your bowl and spoon the curry over top. Squeeze half a lime over each serving, top with a generous handful of cashews and a few pinches of cilantro. Enjoy!