Let’s talk about ugly meals.
Whyyy must they be the best dishes? Like, say… almost everything that comes out of a crockpot. Certain soups. Mushroom cream sauces. Beef stew. Fudge. Anything curry related.
Things like this!
I mentioned last week that triangle-shaped things were my least favorite object/food to photograph, but I think I have a new favorite. Err, a new least favorite? Whatever.
It has to be Thai curry dishes. Attempting to photograph them in a manner that does not highlight their hideous looking ways is nearly impossible. It almost always ends with a plate that looks like it’s covered with a bunch of slop. I swear it tastes good. I promise. I swear I swear I swear.
(And now I’m singing All 4 One’s version in my head for the next three days.) It’s life.
We already discussed my feelings (read: intense adoration) for all things pomegranates. I will not put you through that again. So, moving on.
It’s safe to say that Thai curry dishes have been put in the permanent rotation at our house when it comes to easy, weeknight dinners. We freaking love them. It started with this chicken curry, moved on to this chickpea curry (lots of chicks) and now I’m trashing it up with my favorite magenta fruit. Or fuchsia. Is a pomegranate fuchsia or magenta? Or is it just red? No. That’s boring.
It’s definitely of a hot pink variety, at least in Jessica eyes.
Even though Thai is one of my favorite cuisines (only coming in second, or maybe a very close tie, to Mexican/Tex-Mex dishes), I rarely ever ever ever order any sort of curry when I’m eating in a restaurant.
I’ll tell you why, but it’s embarrassing.
I just can’t get over the delicious, oh-so predictable and stay-in-the-box choice of pad Thai Ugh. I love it so much. I know. So, so common. I am.
BUT. I don’t even care. Those spicy noodles. The crunchy peanuts! I hate every minute that I’m not eating it. It’s the safe meal I don’t think I could ever get sick of.
While most dining out experiences get me pumped to try new dishes and things that I’ve never had before or things that scare the utter crap out of me, that is so not the case here. I walk in to a Thai restaurant, totally preparing to order outside of my comfort zone and then I’m like oh my gosh but the freaking pad Thai I need it I will die if I don’t order it I must have it. Now.
Yes, sometimes we’ve ordered it as a third dish when we are splitting things but it never fails: I usually end up forcing myself upon the dish. It’s all I really want.
Sidebar: going somewhere and ordering three dinners (like between two people) is my favorite. Well, wait. Actually going somewhere and ordering three breakfasts (between two people) trumps all. And if we are talking breakfast for dinner???? Ha! I’m dead. Dead in my glory.
Long story long, I’ve totally fell in love with making dishes like this at home. Just to drive that whole point home. This curry is super simple and can be done within 30 minutes or so. Piled on top of some coconut pom rice and dinner is so quickly served that it’s ridiculous. I actually might like it even better the next say though – for lunch. Or breakfast.
I have no shame. None.
Yield: serves 2-4
Total Time: 35 minutes
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 leeks, trimmed and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1/2 cup snow peas, cut in half
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1 lime, juiced and zest grated
1/3 cup pomegranate arils
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 cups jasmine rice
1 1/2 cups light canned coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut water
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup pomegranate arils
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet or pot over medium heat and add coconut oil. Add in the chicken and cook until it is browned and cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the chicken and set it aside on a plate. If needed, add a bit more coconut oil - though it may not be necessary.
Add the leeks to the skillet and stir. Cook until the leeks are softened, then stir in the garlic, ginger and curry paste. Add in the snow peas and chicken, stirring well. Cook for 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and add in the pomegranate juice. Stir to scrape any bits off the bottom of the skillet and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add in the coconut milk and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce it to a simmer and add in the lime juice and zest. Cook for 10 minutes before serving. Taste and season additionally if needed. Garnish with the cilantro and pom arils.
Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat and add rice, coconut milk, coconut water and salt. Stir, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and let cook for 15-18 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork, then stir in coconut oil. Before serving, stir in the pom arils. (My favorite jasmine rice is the brown jasmine rice from Trader Joe's - all brands may have different cook times. Adjust the liquid and cook time according to your directions.)
[adapted from this chickpea curry]
ugly meals FTW.