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Kaeng Phed Cai

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    Posted: 07 December 2011 at 13:47

Kaeng Phed Kai
Red Chicken Curry from Thailand

Some ingredients may be unfamiliar. These will be hyperlinked to our Glossary of Southeast Asian Cuisine.
From Time/Life's Foods of the World - Pacific and Southeast Asian Cooking, 1970

To serve 4 to 6:

  • 3 cups fresh coconut milk made from 3 cups coarsely-chopped coconut and 3 cups hot water (click here for information on selecting and using coconuts)
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste (click here for recipe)
  • 2 one-pound chicken breasts, boned, skinned and cut into strips about 1 inch long and 1/4-inch wide
  • 1 tablespoon fish's gravy
  • 2 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh red hot chili strips about 1 inch long and 1/8 inch wide (click here for information and tips regarding hot peppers)
Prepare the coconut milk and let it rest at room temperature or in the refrigerator for an hour or so, until the rich top milk rises to the surface. With a large spoon, skim 1 cup off the top and transfer it to a heavy 3- or 4-quart saucepan. Set the remaining coconut milk aside.
Stirring frequently, bring the top milk to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and, stirring occasionally, simmer uncovered until coconut oil begins to bubble to the surface and the liquid has been reduced to about 1/4 cup. Add the curry paste and turmeric, and cook briskly, still stirring, until most of the liquid in the pan has evaporated.
Drop in the chicken, reduce the heat to low and, turning the pieces frequently, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the chicken is tender. Pour in the reserved two cups of coconut milk and, stirring constantly, bring the curry to a boil again. Mix in the fish's gravy, and taste for seasoning.
To serve, transfer the entire contents of the pan to a heated bowl, garnish the curry with the basil leaves and arrange the chili strips in a star. Kaeng phed cai is traditionally accompanied by hot boiled rice.
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