basil chicken + coconut curry sauce

I usually don’t go wild (read: ethnic) with my cooking choices, beyond the occasional french dessert (coming soon!) But I had purchased a can of lite coconut milk, and I was just dying to use it for something. So, obviously, some version of thai-inspired gastronomics was required. I had the boy over to dine with my roommate and me to try out my new foray into ethnic cooking, and it was a huge success. Both approved! It’s a healthier version of your traditional coconut curry sauce – because I used lite coconut milk – but it was still pretty decadent! And you also get your veggies, plus some pretty tasty spices to make it taste a lot more sinful than it really is. [Plus, the big kicker: it was easy and didn’t take that long at all.]

I did some research on-line, trying to find a recipe that included mostly (if not only) ingredients that I already had in the pantry (seeing a trend with this yet?). The tastiest-sounding recipe I found had quite an extensive spice ingredient list for the curry sauce… so I adapted it to fit my cupboard stash. I served the chicken+sauce over quinoa, and the final outcome was pretty freaking delicious. So, here goes nothin’:

basil chicken + coconut curry sauce 

Ingredients: (made enough for 3 people with ~1 serving of left overs)

  • 3 medium-sized chicken breasts, cut into short strips/chunks
  • 1 can (14 oz) lite coconut milk
  • cooked quinoa (make as much as you want. It’s great to have some cooked quinoa in the fridge for mixing with veggies and vinaigrette, or to serve as a last-minute side dish.)
  • 1 large handful basil leaves, torn into chunks (I just used a whole package from the store. I love basil, plus it was about to go bad in my fridge, anyway!)
  • 1 large yellow (or you can use sweet) onion, sliced in half and then sliced fairly thinly (read: you don’t want the full rings, but I’m having a hard time articulating how to slice things, apparently.) 
  • ~5 garlic cloves, minced (use more or less, depending on your love of garlic)
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger 
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil (or some other kind of fat)
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
  • lime juice, to taste

For the curry:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cumin
  • pinch ground cloves
  • dash of curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne 
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Look at those pretty ingredients (sitting on our ancient stove):

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Directions:

Mix together all of your spices for the curry in a small bowl and set aside. Then get out a big sauté pan and heat your 2 Tbsp oil on high heat. When your oil is hot, add onions and jalapeños and cook them for about 3 minutes, stirring enough to keep them from burning. Next, add your ginger, garlic and spice mixture. Mix it all together so everything is coated and cook for about a minute.

Then add the chicken and coconut milk. Stir it around so everything, again, is nicely coated. Bring to a simmer, reduce your heat, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes. (15 was perfect for my ancient stovetop. Just check your chicken to make sure it’s not pink on the inside, but still tender!) When the chicken is done, turn off the heat and add the basil leaves and lime juice. Serve your aromatic concoction over cooked quinoa and you’re good to go! 

Eat up, y’all! 

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