In the late 90's my sister and I lived and worked in Manhattan. On Thursday evenings we'd often meet up after work to exchange boss stories and sip chardonnay. Inevitably, we ended up at Jasmine Thai Restaurant on the Upper East Side.
No matter how many times we scoured their menu...admired all the deliciously sounding entrees and 'flirted' with the idea of ordering Pad Thai...it came down to one decision, "we'll have TWO orders of red Thai chicken curry with a side of jasmine rice." The next few minutes were spent anxiously awaiting our food while commenting on all the beautiful dishes being paraded past our table. We acted as if maybe next time...we'd stray. But who were we kidding?
One particular Thursday night a mutual friend decided to join us. As the three of us were escorted to our table, our guest suggested we all order different entrees so to "share and compare" our dinners.
The mere thought of someone else's chopsticks awkwardly reaching across the dimly lit table to fumble with my curry...sent shivers up my spine! I was certain my sister felt exactly the same!
Somehow...we talked our way out of it! After all...we weren't there to, "try new things" or "expand our culinary palates"...we were there for the curry! From that night on any possible 'third parties' were carefully scrutinized and unknowingly subjected to a rigorous ten-point checklist...all to determine their "joining us out for Thai food eligibility."
Sadly...it was often just the two of us.
One night we mustered up the strength to ask for the recipe. After a few painful attempts at some type of meaningful dialog with our waiter (as we were preparing to leave) he graciously returned with a napkin. There were words on it... mostly in English...some symbols in Thai. We did our best to translate.
Here's the DELICIOUS Red Thai Chicken Curry recipe we've been enjoying ever since! Thanks Jasmine!
You'll need a spoon AND chopsticks for this!
RED THAI CHICKEN CURRY
Jasmine Thai Restaurant, NYC, late 90's recipe on napkin, or as close as we could get!
2 cans of coconut milk
1/2 can water* (we use chicken stock)
1 jar of red curry (You don't have to use the whole jar! Depending on the brand you use...use as much or as little as your taste determines. 2 heaping teaspoons is usually good for very spicy if using Thai Kitchen Brand, which is widely available.)
2 tablespoons of sugar (we use brown sugar)
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
1/2-1 cup of fresh, chopped basil (prefer Thai basil but any will do)
1 red, green and/or yellow pepper (sliced into strips)
1 small -medium size eggplant (optional) (sliced into strips)
1 onion (sliced into strips)
4 to 5 chicken breasts (sliced into strips) (we like to salt and pepper our chicken before cooking)
Saute the chicken strips in approx. 2 tablespoons of olive oil until lightly browned (par cooked). Set aside. In same pan, add the vegetables and continue to saute in olive oil (add more if necessary) until slightly softened, but not limp. Set aside.
In a large pot, combine coconut milk, water*, curry, fish sauce and sugar and whisk together. Simmer until combined. (Taste and add more curry if looking for more heat.) Add chicken and veggie mixture and allow to heat together for a few minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir in basil right before serving. Serve over jasmine** rice.
**We buy jasmine rice at the grocery store (Carolina Brand is easy to find and very good) or Asian market and often cook in the microwave. According to the Carolina brand rice recipe cook: 1 cup rice to 1 3/4 cup water. Cover and place in microwave on high for 5 mins. Reduce power setting to 50% and cook an additional 10 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes and it's ready! Simple way to prepare and perfect every time!
2-4 servings. (Not shown in photos: side of Jasmine rice - but don't you FORGET it!)