Dish # 6: Chu Chee Shrimp (Thailand)

I am happy to report that this one totally made up for the semi-disaster of the last recipe.

I first heard about this dish while I was perusing the book 1001 Foods to Die For (which, if anyone feels so inclined, I would welcome as a gift). It is essentially a Thai shrimp curry and it is basic and easy and delicious.

In Thailand, shrimp or prawns are most often used for this curry, but you can also find it made with fish or scallops or a combination of seafood. Fun Fact: it is named Chu Chee because that is the sound the sauce makes when it is boiling.

I saw many different recipes for this dish, some were more complicated than others, but they all probably lead to the same end result: a slightly sweet and slightly spicy bowl of goodness.

2T canola oil
2T red curry paste
1 cup coconut milk
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined; tales removed
juice from 1/2 lime
2T fish sauce
3T brown sugar

In a large skillet or wok over high heat, add the canola oil and curry paste and mix together. Add 1/2 the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook until pink.

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Once the shrimp is cooked through, add the rest of the coconut milk, fish sauce the brown sugar, and the lime juice. Note that all the recipes I read called for Palm Sugar. I didn’t have any palm sugar, so I just used brown sugar.

Also worth noting in this stage, the fish sauce does not smell good, but trust me, it is essential to Thai cooking and it adds great flavor. A little goes a long way.

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Once everything is done and you’re ready to serve, top with some Thai basil (Mediterranean basil is fine too), sliced chiles, if you want, and serve with rice.

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I probably could have added more sauce to my serving, but it was yummy, yummy! My one-year-old even loved the rice. She devoured it!

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Dish #1: “Butter” Chicken (India)

I have to admit, I’ve always said that I don’t like Indian food. I also have to admit that I’ve never actually tried Indian food, which means I broke the cardinal rule about what I tell my kids: You always have to try something before you can say you don’t like it. This dish may have changed that for me.

In my ongoing quest to lose the spare tire that has made my waist it’s home, was doing a search for healthy recipes one day and I came across this recipe for Butter Chicken. Something about it sounded really yummy to me. And it was really good. It isn’t exactly traditional Butter Chicken because the recipe site I got it from is gluten-free. A more traditional approach would have involved a marinated roasted chicken, which would have been delicious, but the way I did it was definitely quicker.

A short history: Butter chicken was first introduced at a restaurant called Moti Mahal in New Delhi. It is believed to have been a dish thrown together by the chef, Simon Mahli Chahal, when a VIP guest wanted chicken for dinner after dinner was done being served at the restaurant. He used what he had: half a tandoori chicken, some butter, tomatoes, and garam masala (which smells divine, by the way!) and ended up with this dish. You can find lots of ways to make this now, but here is the recipe I used:

Butter Chicken (Recipe from Tastefully Gluten Free)
Ingredients
2 Tbs olive oil, divided
1/2 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs ginger, mnced
1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces (Next time I will probably use a roast chicken to aim for a more traditional Tandoori style)
1/4c + 2 Tbs tomato paste
12 oz coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp red curry paste
2 tsp curry powder
1 Tbs garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 heaping Tbs plain greek yogurt
Directions
Heat half of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When the oil is hot add the chicken to the skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is opaque and cooked all the way through. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Heat the remaining olive oil in the same skillet, reducing heat the medium. When the oil is warm add the onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook until soft (about 3-5 minutes), stirring frequently to keep the garlic from burning.
Add the tomato paste and coconut milk to the pan and stir to combine. If at any point the mixture is boiling or bubbling turn the heat down to low. Next stir in the curry paste, curry powder, garam masala, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. When the mixture is combined, add the greek yogurt. If you’d like a thinner sauce than what results stir in more greek yogurt.
Stir the chicken back into the pan and serve with rice and/or naan bread.

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I made this before I decided to make this site, so the photo is just my lunch the next day (it reheats nicely, btw). Yes, I know I’m eating mine with Lavash, which is Armenian, and not Naan, which is Indian, so sue me. It was what I had and it was delicious.