chicken bathed in galangal, lemongrass, and red chili infused coconut milk
I never had Thai food before coming to Seattle in 2006. After tasting the amazing flavors (particularly at Pen Thai restaurant in Bothell, WA) of red and green Thai curry, my husband and I started developing our very own Thai curries–completely from scratch. We obtained a recipe passed onto us from a friend that took a local Thai cooking class, made it completely archerfriendly, and from there developed our own red and green curries.
Although we loved our own curry, the pastes have really given us restaurant tasting Thai curry when we don’t have the time to make our own. It’s also cheaper for us to use the paste, since we’re not separately purchasing all of the ingredients (especially the Kaffir lime leaves).
We specifically designed this recipe to go straight in the crock-pot, making it exceptionally easy for you to obtain great tasting curry with minimum time and hassle.
If you want your curry to taste “authentic”, you need to get a good fish sauce. Pantai Fish Sauce (Shrimp Brand) is what has been recommended to us as being one of the best. However, we haven’t used it since it also contains MSG and sugar. We have been using Chuan Choen Fish Sauce with satisfying results, which you can see to the left. The ingredients are mackerel fish extract, water, and salt.
While writing this post I realized that the ingredients of this fish sauce have somehow missed my mercury detecting radar. Just a few minutes ago, I checked my fish guide from the Natural Resources Defense Council, and saw that king mackerel is at risk for containing the highest level of mercury found in fish. I don’t know if Chuan Choen Fish Sauce uses king mackerel or just regular mackerel, but from now on, I’m not going to use it. Next time I go to the store, I’m going to pick up this fish sauce, made by Thai Kitchen. Their fish sauce uses anchovies, which contain the least amount of mercury. Although it does contain “unrefined cane sugar”, I’ll take that over mercury any day. Besides, if I used two tablespoons of their fish sauce, it may not even make a gram of sugar. If you find a fish sauce made with a low mercury level fish that does not contain sugar, I’d love to know about it! Whatever brand of fish sauce you choose to buy, remember that good fish sauce does not stink.
I also have a Green Thai Crock-Pot Curry recipe to share with you, so I will re-test it with Thai Kitchen’s fish sauce and I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Since I mentioned authenticity, I must tell you that adding honey to a Thai curry recipe is not authentic. The honey does alter the flavor a tiny smidgen, since most recipes just call for sugar.
Let’s face it, this crock-pot version is so good that we haven’t gone back to making it from scratch since.
Red Thai Crock-Pot Chicken Curry
Makes 8-10 Servings
- 2 14 oz. cans of full fat coconut milk
- 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
- 1-2 Tablespoons Thai red curry paste (more if you want it spicy)
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 4 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
- 1/2 large red pepper, cut into long strips
- 1 8 oz. can bamboo shoots
- fresh Thai basil (a good handful)
- Whisk coconut milk, fish sauce, red curry paste, and honey in your crock-pot.
- Add chicken, long strips of red pepper, and bamboo shoots. Stir until everything is evenly coated with the coconut milk sauce.
- Cook on low for at least 3-4 hours.
- Add fresh Thai basil leaves just before serving.
Serve over brown rice.
- I used Thai Kitchen’s Red Curry Paste. One tablespoon is very mild if you don’t want it spicy.
- You can use regular basil in a pinch. Genovese basil substitutes well.