Last night, I was going to make the traditional Korean noodle dish, chap chae, with boneless chicken thighs instead of beef, but Kurt wanted to go out for Italian (even though we’ve been on a steady stream of pasta the last few days). So tonight, I decided to veer away from my usual chicken thigh standbys and make something on my own. Yay, a kitchen experiment!
My main requirement was that I had to have everything here at home; it’s way too cold to go out once the sun goes down and the wind has been blowing all day. Fortunately, I had been to Wegman’s during the week and had a slew of vegetables at my disposal. The other requirement was that it had to be fast and cooked in a single pan or pot; I spent the majority of my weekend helping the guys get the man-cave in order, and was tired. Ken purged so much of his stuff that our super can couldn’t hold all the trash bags! (But the man-cave looks much better and I may even come down to visit once in a while).
I rooted around my pantry and found a can of coconut milk that I decided would be the base of my dish– as far removed from the Italian cuisine we’ve been eating as I could get! Thai curry, maybe? I had no Thai curry paste, BUT I had a tub of Korean chili paste that would do; it’s spicy and a bit sweet. I always have Filipino fish sauce, patis, and a spice cabinet full of the flavors of the world. With mushrooms, carrots, onions and garlic, I was good to go with my pan-Asian chicken curry!
Maria’s Pan-Asian Spicy Chicken in Coconut Milk
- 1 to 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, (I had five), cut into thin strips
- 1 TB Korean gochujang, plus more if needed for sauce
- 1 TB brown sugar
- salt and pepper
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal into thin ovals
- 5-6 cremini mushrooms (or whatever you have on hand, oyster and shitake would be great)
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped (1/2 to 1 inch pieces)
- I can unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 – 2 tsp fish sauce (I use Filipino patis)
Chop the vegetables.
Here’s what my bottle of patis and Korean hot pepper paste look like:
Slice the chicken thighs into thin strips; generously season with salt and pepper then add the hot pepper paste.
Using your fingers, mix the paste into the chicken to coat all pieces.
Sprinkle the brown sugar on top and mix again. Let chicken marinate for about 15 minutes.
In a medium sauté pan, heat vegetable oil until it shimmers and is hot. Add the onion first and sauté for a minute. Then add the carrots and onions and stir fry another minute or so.
Add the chicken pieces. Stir fry until chicken is almost cooked through.
Add the coconut milk and fish sauce, stirring to combine then add the mushrooms and ground coriander.
Mix thoroughly. Bring to a boil, then clamp on a lid and lower the heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
Taste the sauce, adding more pepper paste, salt, pepper or patis as needed. Serve over hot steamed rice.
Kurt and Ken both agreed this was a successful experiment. Kurt said that “with a tablespoon or two of peanut butter, you’d have panang curry.” Woohoo! And no recipe involved– it’s that easy. You can add additional depth of flavor with fresh coriander and lime, but this was good as is!
Oh, and for those of you who read my rocky road post– the candy held up just fine. I’m going to make it with almonds for Easter!