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Author Notes: This is to Thai-inspired food what fried rice is to General Tso’s, Americanized though it may be. It’s got a fantastic combination of savory, sweet, spicy and sour – all the flavors you’d associate with Thai food. There’s an earthy sweetness and warmth from the curry paste that is accentuated by the creamy coconut milk and then punctured by sharp sourness from the lime and fish sauce. This is great served alongside chicken breast that's been marinated in lemon and ginger, though it is fairly unnecessary as this, on its own, can be considered a meal in itself – think risotto. If you want something else alongside of it but didn’t think to marinade any chicken just grill or sauté some shrimp over ridiculousy hot heat, blistering them to a burnt coral on the outside and keeping them tender within, or a steak, charred to a deep brown but still very rare inside, slicing it thin and serving over top the rice (which helps stretch the meat a little more). What may be even better yet, there’s enough coconut milk (if you’re using a 14 – 15oz can) to make a batch of Better Coconut Cupcakes! It’s fate. It may not be a traditional pairing but it works! —David Rash
Serves 4 - 6 as a side, 3 as a meal
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or some other flavorless oil
- 2 teaspoons chili oil
- 1 red bell pepper, medium chop
- 6 - 8 green onions, whites and greens divided and sliced thin
- 1 green finger chili, seeded and minced
- 1 red Thai chili, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 cups white rice, rinsed well
- 2 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste (or more, to taste)
- 3/4 - 1 cups canned coconut milk (NOT sweetened coconut cream)
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 3/4 cup dried mango, medium chop
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- In a large Dutch oven, heat the oils until hot. Add the chopped bell peppers and cook until it begins to soften – about 5 – 7 minutes.
- Add the sliced whites of the scallions and chopped mango and cook for just an additional minute.
- Add in the garlic, Thai chili and curry paste and stir everything to combine and melt down the curry paste a little.
- Cook this for just a minute or two before adding the rice. Stir to coat the rice in the curry paste, getting it slicked in the oils and paste.
- Once the curry paste has pretty evenly coated the rice, pour in 3/4 cup coconut milk and just stir to break up the curry paste, melting it into the coconut milk.
- Pour in the stock, water and fish sauce and stir to combine.
- Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to the lowest of the low, clamp on the lid and simmer until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid and become swollen and tender, about 20 - 25 minutes. It needs slightly more time than normally steamed white rice.
- Once cooked, fluff the rice with a fork as you normally would. At this point, if the rice has absorb all of the liquid, I add a few more generous splashes of coconut milk - up to 1/4 cup - to help make this slightly looser.
- Drizzle in the lime juice and fold in the green onions, finger chili and cilantro as you continue to fork the rice. Serve hot.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Coconut