Food and Drink: Coconut and Kaffir Lime Thai Stew

Recently I decided to try my hand at making a homemade Thai dinner, with Green Curry as the main. But, I had a slight dilemma...two of my dinner guests (ahem, mom and sister) are both opposed to curry, saying that it is too fragrant for their palettes. I took this as a challenge and decided to make a Coconut and Kaffir Lime Thai Stew - or a curry-less green curry. 

Now, you may ask "what the hell is curry-less green curry?" I confess, when I started this I had absolutely no idea if curry-less curry would work. Admittedly, it makes no sense. But I figured that if I used as many aromatics as possible, this dish could have potential. 

The star of this dish is definitely the Kaffir Lime powder, which I found at The Spice Trader on Roncesvalles. Kaffir Lime is indigenous to Southeast Asia and one of the predominant flavours in Thai curry. If you can find fresh Kaffir Lime leaves in Toronto buy them immediately and let me know where you found them! If not, the powder works just as well.

This recipe is by no means authentic, but it is very tasty.

You'll need:
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 inch cube of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 small sweet onion, peeled, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 2 cans coconut milk, not shaken
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (optional)
  • Thai basil
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 cup peas 
  • 2 lbs bok choy, leaves and stems separated
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Kaffir Lime powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor combine the garlic, ginger and onion, and pulse until it forms a paste. 

In a dutch oven heat the olive oil and butter over a medium heat. Add the pureed aromatics and stir well. Cook for a few minutes, then add the cumin, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the chicken to the pot. Cook chicken slightly on all sides, using a sturdy wooden spoon to move it around. Make sure to thoroughly coat it with the spice mixture.

Open both cans of coconut milk, remove the cream from the top using a soup spoon and set aside. Pour the coconut milk over the chicken. It should just barely cover the chicken.

Cook the chicken over low heat for about 1 hour. If the liquid reduces, add the chicken stock.

After an hour, add the Kaffir Lime and the Thai basil, and continue to cook.

Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch with coconut cream until smooth and add to the pot. Stir well. The coconut cream and cornstarch mixture should thicken then stew. Raise the heat to medium.

Add the bok choy stems and red pepper. Cook until the vegetables have softened. Add the bok choy green and peas, and cook for a few more minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve over Basmati rice.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, just a head's up: you can find fresh kaffir lime leaves (and galangal!) at Fu Yao supermarket on Danforth rd. and Midland Avenue in Scarborough. Might be out of your way but well worth the trek!


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