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Red Curry Chicken Braised in Coconut Milk

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Chicken braised in coconut milk is a staple in Indonesian and Malay tropical cuisines. I just adore dried mango, and here is a wonderful way to feature it. As it cooks with the savory coconut milk sauce, it will soften and add a luscious sweetness to the cooking juices. Look for the plump, finger-size ripe red chile in the produce bins; it is known in ethnic markets by its Indian name, lal mirch. Since it is a ripe version of an immature green chile, the heat will be subdued. Thai red curry paste is a commercially available product and a traditional seasoning in Southeast Asian dishes; it has a completely different taste from Indian curries. Serve this over steamed white or brown jasmine rice.

NotesCooker: 1½ to 3 quart

Setting and Cook Time: High for 2½ to 3 hoursSlow Cooker Tip: Lifting the Lid

You will see lots of instructions that say never to lift the lid during the cooking process. On one hand, it is a good rule; on the other hand, it is impossible. As the contents of the slow cooker heat up and create steam, a natural water seal is created around the rim of the lid as a vacuum is formed. The rim of the lid will stick in place when gently pulled, and this is important for the even cooking of the food within. But the recipe might call for adding ingredients halfway through cooking or near the end of the cooking time, or you might want to check your food for doneness at some point. It is fine to do this, but always remember that by breaking the lid seal and allowing the steam to escape, the temperature within is reduced. When you place the lid back on, it takes 20 to 30 minutes for the internal temperature of the contents to come back to the proper cooking temperature. You can easily check the contents through the glass lid. There is no need to stir or turn the food, unless a recipe specifies to do so. Otherwise, stirring before serving will suffice.

Serves2

Cooking Methodslow cooking

CostInexpensive

Easy

Total Timea day or more

Make Ahead RecipeYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cooking for a date

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, tree nut free

Equipmentcrock pot, food processor

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturecreamy, meaty, spiced, umami

Ingredients

  • 1 red chile, seeded
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped
  • One 1½-inch chunk fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 to 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed of fat
  • One 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
  • ½ cup chopped dried mango pieces

Instructions

  1. Place the chile, red curry paste, onion, ginger, lime juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, and salt in a food processor and process until smooth to make a loose puree. Scrape into a heavy quart-size zipper-top plastic bag. Add the chicken and mix around to coat completely with the paste. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

  2. Place the chicken in the slow cooker. Without shaking it, open the can of coconut milk. Carefully spoon off the top one-third of the liquid in the can (about 1/2 cup) and add it to the chicken. (The thick portion on top is called the coconut cream; reserve the remaining coconut milk for another purpose.) Stir well to distribute the ingredients and coat the chicken with coconut cream. Add the mango pieces and stir again. Cover and cook on HIGH for to 2½ to 3 hours. Serve hot.

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