RED CURRY WITH CHICKEN AND BAMBOO SHOOTS | GANG PHET GAI
My mother cooks a killer curry. And by killer, I mean delicious. Her curries are incredibly spicy. To the unaccustomed, they are perhaps painfully spicy. But it’s the kind of spice that you want to keep eating, the kind of spice that leaves you wanting more. In addition to being fiery, they are wonderfully fragrant, filled with kaffir lime leaves and Thai basil, and seasoned to perfection. The meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. And the curry itself is nice and soupy, yet still rich with coconut flavor. The last time she visited, she made this red curry with chicken and bamboo shoots for the family. She followed all of the same steps that I usually take in preparing Thai curries, but with a more practiced hand. After separating the coconut milk, she added about double the amount of curry paste that I tend to. Then she allowed it to really fry in the coconut milk, until a strong aroma of curry filled the kitchen. Instead of simply using sliced chicken breast and thighs, she added bone-in drumsticks and wings too for more depth of flavor. These tender morsels of meat contrasted so nicely with the crunchy mild-flavored bamboo shoots. Once all of the flavors had melded together and the final seasonings had been added, the soupy curry was ladled over khanom jeen noodles for a perfect bowl of red curry.
- 1 14- ounce can of coconut milk
- 5 tablespoons red curry paste
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup chicken breast and thighs sliced thinly
- 4 chicken drumsticks and/or wings
- 4 cups bamboo shoots prepared as below
- 10 kaffir lime leaves deveined and torn
- 1 cup Thai basil leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
Begin by preparing the bamboo shoots. For canned bamboo shoots, wash the shoots in warm water, cut into rectangular strips, then boil for 30 minutes to remove the tinny flavor. If you are using fresh bamboo shoots, be sure to prepare them properly to remove their natural bitterness/toxins. I peel the outer layers off, cut them into strips, and then boil them in salted water with rice starch for 1-2 hours.
Open the can of coconut milk and scoop the top thicker portion (approximately 3/4 cup) into a large wok. Turn the heat to medium high and allow the coconut milk to cook until it is bubbling and there is an oily film on the surface. This should take approximately 5 minutes.
Add the red curry paste to the separated coconut milk and stir to incorporate. Allow the curry paste and coconut milk mixture to cook until the oily film reappears, being careful not to allow the paste to burn.
Add the chicken drumsticks and wings, coat with the curry paste, and allow to cook slightly. Then add the chicken breast and thighs and repeat.
Add the rest of the coconut milk and several cups of water, depending on the consistency you prefer. Hubby and I prefer a thinner curry so we add more water, but many western Thai restaurants serve a richer, thicker curry.
Next add the prepared bamboo shoots and kaffir lime leaves, and allow to simmer for approximately 30 minutes, uncovered. Add more water or coconut milk as necessary.
Add the Thai basil leaves and stir to incorporate.
Taste the curry and adjust the seasonings as necessary. Some curry pastes will already be salty enough and no additional seasoning is needed.
Serve over khanom jeen noodles and enjoy!