Nothing says warm me up like a Curry with coconut milk and all the right fillings on a cold and windy rainy night. This is truly a delicious meal even if my photo suggests otherwise! This recipe calls for chicken, chicken broth and fish sauce, of which I omitted and used veggie broth and it still would have fooled the best carnivore. Other than a lot of peeling and chopping, there is nothing to it. Just make sure you have some good curry spices and fresh ginger (of which I probably over indulge in). It’s a crowd pleaser and serves a crowd. Don’t miss out on this one if you are a curry fan. You’ll be adding it to your fav’s in no time. I have made this a few times and the only thing I am going to try in the future is swap the amounts of milk and coconut milk around. Just to see if it’s creamier or more subtle! (1 can coconut milk/to 2 cups regular milk-so I will swap) ;-)
Here’s all you do:
- 1 x 2-1/2 – 3 lb. chicken, cut up or you can buy pre-cut pieces at the store. Or if you prefer, use all breasts or thighs depending on your preference. You can also include a few sliced up boneless breasts or thighs to add towards the end if you want to increase the protein and have some boneless bites for everyone. (For a vegetarian version, use 1 or 2 tubs of firm tofu – see notes below)
- 7-8 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut into about 2″ lengths
- 6 small russet potatoes, peeled and cut into about 2″ large pieces, with larger pieces cut in half
- 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into similar 2″ large pieces
- 1 large onion, cut into wedges
- 3-4″piece of ginger, bruised with the back of your knife
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 x 32 oz. carton, or 4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth, or homemade (Or you can use veggie stock)
- 2 cups organic milk of your preference
- 1 x 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
- 2 – 3 Tbsp. Vietnamese curry powder
- 2 Tbsp. Fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp. kosher salt, more to salt and pepper the chicken pieces
- 1 – 2 tsp. sugar
- Cooked rice noodles or baguette or french bread for serving, actually naan would be great
3. In a large pot or dutch oven, drizzle a little canola or vegetable oil and heat over medium high heat. Add sliced shallots and garlic and saute for a minute or so until fragrant. Add 2 Tbsp. curry powder and saute for about 30 seconds.
4. Push everything to the side and add the chicken pieces and brown for a few minutes on each side in two batches. Set the chicken aside for now.
5. Add the sliced onions to the pot and saute for a minute, and then add the chicken broth, chicken pieces back to the pot, the piece of bruised ginger, the coconut milk and let it all come to a gentle boil.
6. Add fish sauce and 1 Tbsp. salt, the potatoes, carrots and turn the heat down to medium/low and bring everything to a simmer for about 10 minutes.
7. Taste the curry and if you want a stronger curry flavor, add a little more, up to another tablespoon. Add 1 tsp. of the sugar for now. Don’t worry if it tastes a little spicy yet as you’ll add a little milk at the end still. Add the sweet potatoes and let everything simmer for another 10 minutes.
8. Turn the heat down to low to a very gentle, low simmer, and add the milk and stir well. Let everything simmer on low heat for another couple of minutes or so. If you like, add another teaspoon sugar or more fish sauce to balance the flavors to your liking.
Serve with Vietnamese french bread, a piece of baguette or french bread, or over rice noodles. This tastes even better the next day.
For a vegetarian version and if you like tofu:
If you want to make this vegetarian, you can add cubes of pan-fried tofu. Remove the tofu from the package and let it sit in a colander for a while and drain. Dry it off as much as possible with paper towels. Slice into smaller pieces – thirds or quarters depending on the size of your tofu. Heat about an inch of oil in a deep skillet over medium high heat or even a pot to reduce oil splatter. Once it’s hot (try the chopstick method – put the tip of a chopstick into the oil and if bubbles gather around it, it’s ready), add the slices of tofu and brown on all sides and set aside over a rack to drain off any excess oil. Then slice into large cubes. If you have an Asian grocery store in your area, you can probably find pre-fried tofu, which is great because it makes things a little easier.
Follow steps 1 through 3, omit step 4, and pick up with step 5 again. Replace chicken broth with veggie stock or just water, and omit fish sauce. You may end up increasing the curry powder or salt a little to make up for the fish sauce. Add the tofu cubes with the sweet potatoes in step 7.
I have only ever served mine over rice and it was perfect. It keeps well and won’t disappoint.