I love snow days, they are the perfect excuse to hibernate and cook. The simple process of coaxing fragrant aromas and delicious flavors from simple ingredients while the world around you is quietly transformed with a blanket of snow is both visceral and romantic.
Thai Curry Rice with Chicken is my latest snow day creation. A riff on a recipe by Molly Yeh in the February Food & Wine magazine, this dish is the perfect one pot meal; hearty, with a nice touch of hot spice, mellowed with the sweetness of coconut, and a quick burst of lime. A plate of this will warm up even the coldest snow bunny.
Yeh’s recipe calls for sugar snap peas and slivers of red pepper. In the photograph they looked bright and colorful. But this was a snow day, and driving to the market was not going to happen. Instead, I made the trip to the root cellar for a leek and rutabaga.
The kaffir lime leaves were my last minute attempt to add some green to the dish. These glossy, dark green leaves have a unique double shape. Grown in Southeast Asia and Hawaii, kaffir lime leaves are used frequently in Thai cuisine. I have a small tree that winters in the house. Kaffir lime leaves are sold the freezer section of specialty and health food stores. Be sure to slice them paper thin. Grated lime zest will also provide the same flavor component.
My Thai Curry Rice was a big hit for supper, and I enjoyed it at room temperature the next day in my lunchbox. Another time I’ll try some other veggies, like frozen peas or even dried cranberries.
Nothing beats a good snow day to be creative in the kitchen.
THAI CURRY RICE WITH CHICKEN
- 1 cup brown basmati rice
- 1 cups ½chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon fat of your choice
- ½ pound boneless chicken meat cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste *
- 1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk *
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce *
- 1 in leek cuthalf and chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup carrots sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds
- 1 cup rutabaga cut into ½ inch pieces
- 2 tablespoon Kaffir lime leaves sliced into long, thin pieces or 1grated lime zest
- Chopped fresh cilantro for serving optional
- Lime wedges for serving optional
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the rice with the stock and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the liquid is absorbed, about 10 – 12 minutes. The rice will not be completely cooked.
- Heat the fat over a medium heat in an enameled casserole stove –to-oven pan. Add the chicken and season with sea salt and fresh pepper. Cook until brown.
- Stir in the leeks and cook for five minutes. Add the red curry paste and cook until fragrant, stirring well, about 2 minutes.
- Add the parcooked rice, coconut milk, brown sugar and fish sauce. Stir well, then add the vegetables.
- Cover the dish and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. Stir in the kaffir lime leaves (or lime zest) and cook until the coconut milk is absorbed and the rice is cooked.
- Serve warm with fresh cilantro and lime wedges if desired.