Bordering Thailand, Laos has a very similar cuisine, full-on with rich, coconut-milk based sauces, and exotic flavors like galangal, Kaffir lime, and shrimp paste. So it was great to stumble upon this recipe for a Lao chicken curry because the curry paste it uses was almost identical to Thai curry paste. Although I’m not normally known to cook the “semi-homemade” way with premade sauces and such, there is a brand of Thai curry pastes to which I’m partial, made by a Thai company called Maesri. Turns out, according to my man at Asia Food in Baltimore, a leading restaurant supplier (and the place where I buy most of my Asian products), that most of the Thai restaurants in town also use Maesri sauces in their dishes. This brand contains no artificial ingredients–especially no MSG, which seems to be a curse on store-bought Asian food products–and this particular recipe has the added benefit of using no oil, making it extra healthy.
Lao curried chicken is essentially a one-pot dish with meat , vegetables, and starch (and loads of flavor!), which you can enjoy over rice. In addition to the short ingredient list and ease of preparation, the amazing flavor will show you that you too can make restaurant quality food in your very own kitchen. I basically halved the recipe for my purposes on Pan Asian, but feel free to make a big batch of this the next time you have guests to impress.
4 cups coconut milk
1/4 cup yellow curry paste
2 large onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 3-4 pound chicken, cleaned and cut
salt to taste
5-6 fresh red or green chilies, sliced diagonally into 2-inch segments
2 stalks lemongrass, sliced diagonally into 2-inch segments
3 medium potatoes, cubed
1 pound long or green beans, sliced diagonally into 2-inch segments
3 tbsp. fish sauce
1.) Heat 1 cup of coconut milk in a large saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to boil. Stir in the curry paste, reduce heat to medium low and cook until mixture is fragrant (about 5 minutes). Stir in onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes more.
2.) Meanwhile, remove breast meat from bones and cut into cubes. Split wings, thighs and drumsticks in half. Add to curry mixture and stir to mix. Cook for 10 minutes.
3.) Stir in salt and remaining 3 cups coconut milk, and reduce heat to low. Stir in chilies, lemon grass, and cover and cook for 10 minutes more. Stir in potatoes aand beans and cook, uncovered, until soft (about 10 minutes). Just before serving, stir in the fish sauce.
Makes 4-6 servings
Yellow curry paste:
3 dried red chilies, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes
10 shallots, chopped
1 tbsp. chopped garlic
1 tbsp. coriander seeds
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. fresh ginger, chopped
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 stalks lemon grass, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Thai or Malaysian shrimp paste
1.) Roast separately the chilies, shallots, garlic, coriander, curry powder, cumin, and ginger in a wok, stirring constantly until fragrant.
2.) Transfer to a blender, add just enough coconut milk to process and blend until smooth. Add the lemon grass, salt and remaining coconut milk, and process again. Add the shrimp paste and process to incorporate. This mixture may be stored in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to one month.