Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Can You Smell?

Still on my Thai cooking binge, the other day the boy and I bought a wok. Throughout the store and in the checkout line, I was subjected to horrible "Wok/Rock" puns. "That's wok hard" and "You wok my world". And just as he was running out of steam, I waved the wok, notched an eyebrow and said, "Can you smell what the wok is cooking?"

Ooh snap. Ultimate victory. I out-punned my silly husband - it woked sooooo well on so many levels. The aftermath wasn't pretty. He stewed in a mélange of awe, disbelief and inevitably...supreme bitterness for wasting what was arguably the best setup in the world.

Sometimes, I catch him looking out into the distance with a wistful look on his face. What if. What if. Luckily, I was able to appease him with some Thai red curry. I've tried a bunch of recipes so far and this is the one I like the best. But there's still something missing. Maybe peanuts.

Oh well, it's still pretty good.


Do you sometimes get the feeling that someone upstairs might be pissed off at you? Dents in the car, impossible bosses, video games that require your husband to buy a new computer and horrific dental surgery?

And then... on a sunny day, there it is. Undeniable proof that you're getting flipped off.

[Updated: Recipes from the internet]

Thai Red Curry

1 lb boneless chicken breast
1 can bamboo shoots, sliced
3 tbsp red curry paste (you can make your own but I cheated and bought some in the store)
2 cups coconut milk
2 fresh red chili, sliced diagonally (I put in 5 but we like it spicy)
1/2 cup Thai sweet basil leaves (HAS to be Thai basil)
1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp palm sugar (I substituted brown sugar)
1 cup of green peppers (optional)
1 cup of broccoli (optional)
1 cup of straw mushrooms (optional)
Thai sweet basil leaves for garnish

Wash the chicken, slice diagonally into 1/2 cm thick, 3 cm wide and 3 cm long pieces. Thinly slice the bamboo shoots (if not already sliced).
Pour 1 cup of coconut milk into a wok. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly.
Add the curry paste, stir until red oil comes to the surface. Add the chicken and saute until it turns white and is cooked through.
Add the remaining coconut milk, follow with the bamboo shoots. Season with fish sauce, sugar, chili peppers and salt and bring back to a boil. Add the Thai sweet basil leaves. Turn off the heat. Arrange on a serving dish and garnish with sweet basil leaves before serving.

Serves 5.

Notes: Per my husband's request, I also added in multiple vegetables, such as a cup of sliced peppers, a cup of broccoli and cauliflower. But you can use/omit whatever veggies you like. I'd also suggest putting maybe a handful of whole peanuts in this curry.
For a bit more sauce, I'd add an extra 1/2 cup of coconut milk.

Thai Basil Chicken

3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3-5 chopped Thai chili pepper (5 is spicy)
8 ounces sliced chicken breast
1/2 cup baby corn
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (I used just 1 tbsp)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon sweet soy sauce (optional)
1/3 cup chicken stock (I skipped this step)
1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper (optional)
1/2 cup Thai sweet basil (or Thai holy basil)

Steamed rice

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or wok at high heat. Stir in the chopped garlic and cook until it is golden brown (at this point, I lowered the heat to prevent the garlic from burning). Add the Thai chili pepper and stir well.
Add the chicken and cook it just halfway done. Reduce the heat to medium and add the baby corn, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, sweet soy sauce, and chicken stock. Mix well. When all the ingredients are cooked, add the red bell pepper and the Thai basil. Mix well and season to taste with salt. Serve over steamed jasmine rice.

Notes: I also mixed in more vegetables to beef up the dish. Also, the fish sauce is really stinky and the whole thing smells somewhat questionable until you add in the Thai sweet basil. And then it's awesome.


  1. Love that last picture! And what about recipes? Any chance you'd be willing to post the good recipes?

  2. That dinner looks amazing, Toki! Sheesh, I better not let my husband see this or he'll start expecting beautiful plates of food like that one.

  3. Hey, my food never looks like that! Mine comes in a plastic container and lives in the freezer!

    Wok you!

  4. Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!!