This post has been sponsored by Maple Leaf Prime.
On Sunday I took some time to hang out with Mandy for her birthday. We went to one of those escape-the-room places, and I think that might be my new favourite thing to do. I love trying to solve puzzles! I’m a big fan of mystery novels and TV shows too. I’ve been an Agatha Christie fan for years (especially the Hercule Poirot series), and I enjoy watching Castle, Murdoch Mysteries and Perception.
Mandy loves a challenge, so we both had a blast trying to solve the puzzles to get out of the room. In the end, we missed something totally obvious and ran out of time before being able to escape. We ranted about our lack of sleuthing skills all the way to JJ Japanese Thai – one of our favourite restaurants.
The last time we tried to visit JJ’s, they were closed for renovations. We were disappointed to find that much of the renovations were to the menu, and not the dining rom. They removed some of our favourite dishes from the menu, which we were pretty bummed about.
One dish that I recognized from our favourites was the Thai red curry with chicken, so that’s what I ordered. I was amused to see that they now serve the dish in a heated pot. It was fun until I leaned over the dish. Apparently, they have upped the heat factor from pleasantly spicy to burn-your-face-off hot. My eyes were actually watering from the fumes coming off the dish!
Since I ate that meal I’ve been wanting to enjoy a less firey red curry, so I went out and bought a bottle of Thai red curry paste.
I realize that curry enthusiasts will be horrified at the idea of using a pre-made curry product. I understand why – it’s hard to beat the flavours of fresh spices. That being said, I also appreciate the convenience of the pre-made product, so I decided to make the bottled curry paste work for me.
It took some tweaking, but I eventually figured out how to mimic the flavours from the restaurant meal. The result was a curry that had some heat, but was flavourful too. The best part is that you can easily adjust the flavours in this dish to suit your preference. So, if you really want a burn-your-face-off level of heat, you can have it.
I hope you try making this delicious Thai curry at home!
A note about curry pastes:
I received an email from someone who tried this dish and found that it was way too hot. After talking with her, I realized that the brand of Thai red curry paste she used was much spicier than the one I used when I created this dish! As a result, I have changed my recommendation for the amount of curry paste you should use.
However, it is important to note that the level of spiciness can vary greatly from brand to brand, and you may not like as much spice as I do. Try adding a small amount of paste to the pan, and then taste it. If it’s not flavourful enough for you, add a little bit more. Keep going until you find the amount that works for you.
Thai Red Curry with Chicken and Pineapple
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- 1 cup red bell pepper cut into 1/2" pieces
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1½ pounds boneless chicken cut into 1" pieces
- 2 cups fresh pineapple cut into 1/2" pieces
- 1½ tablespoons Thai red curry paste* see note
- 1 can 14 oz coconut milk
- ¾ cup chicken stock
- 1 small red Thai chile finely sliced, optional
- 1- inch knob fresh ginger grated
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- ½ tsp mushroom soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
- 8 fresh basil leaves
- salt to taste
Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet oven medium-low heat.
Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the bell pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
Empty the content of the pan into a bowl, and set aside.
Place the pan back on the heat, and add a bit more oil if the pan seems dry. Turn the heat up to medium-high.
Once the pan is hot, add the chicken. Brown the chicken on all sides, without cooking it fully. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, then return the onion mixture to the pan.
Add the pineapple and cook for 1 minute.
Add the curry paste, stir to combine it with the other ingredients, and cook for 1 minute.
Add the coconut milk, chicken stock. Simmer the sauce until thickened, about 10-15 minutes.
Taste the sauce. Add the ginger and chile, if using.
Add the sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, basil and salt. Cook for another few minutes. Taste again to check the seasoning.
Add the chicken, and cook until the meat is no longer pink. (Be careful not to overcook the chicken.)
Recipe NotesServe with white rice, jasmine rice or basmati rice.
Tip: Make sure you have prepared all of your ingredients before you start. If you take too long to add ingredients to the skillet, you run the risk of burning or over-reducing your sauce.
*You may need to adjust the amount of red curry paste that you use. The level of spiciness varies from brand to brand, and your tolerance for heat may be different than mine. Start with a small amount and increase it until you get the flavour you want.
Updated Dec. 19, 2015
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