(Because Mr. G is really preoccupied as of late, I am taking the reins for the moment)
ALYAVILLE: I generally don’t follow rules. Well, when it comes to sports and board games and the like, I am adamant about enforcing them. Come to think of it, I find it a little strange how fervent I am about those rules (might even add more of them to make something more challenging!) when I am so free flowing in every other regard. Curious. Oddly placed competitive streak in me. But that’s irrelevant.
As a “rule” ironically enough, I kind of tweak to my heart’s content. This is especially true in the kitchen, and why shouldn’t it be? Why should we be relegated only to the constraints of a recipe’s directions? Why shackle our heart’s (and tongue’s) creativity as such? Oh rid me of this ball and chain! I’d rather simmer to death in excess spices than stew in blandness and un-Alyaesque flavor, for example.
In case you didn’t get it, I personally like to experiment. Not to say I live on the wild side, I just … tweak. I tweak a lot. Especially if it saves me time and money from buying more groceries than I care to. Ahh there’s the rub. How to cook with whatcha got. Well, I have this delectable red curry paste (Thai Kitchen) and I lo-o-o-ove thai food, but much of what I love consists of coconut milk. I hardly ever have that on hand, because a) no coconuts of my own to harvest, and b) really? Who is going to remember to buy that on a general run to the store?.
What I do have though (or my mom, I should say, ‘tis her kitchen after all) are coconut flakes. Ohh interesting. What do we make of this? Well what follows is the Alyaville Flaky Coco-Curry Pasta.
- 3 chicken breasts, cubed
- 1 teaspoon red curry paste (thai kitchen)
- 2 ½ tsp brown sugar
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¾ tsp garlic paste
- Splash of lemon juice
- 3 tbsp coconut flakes
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- ½ cup water
- Red chili powder
- sliced up veggies of choice (e.g. bell peppers, squash, potato)
- Pasta of your choice
You’ll notice perhaps that I have little mention of spicy spices up here. I had to tone things down a little bit for my dad’s sake. What with flus and colds and viruses galore going around, it just had to happen that he got a terribly stomach bug of some kind, so I am trying to embrace a life of little to no hotness (oh, the horror!!). I have to admit, it has been difficult, but I shall manage.
So wash and clean your chicken if necessary, and slice those suckers up into small chunky cubes. The smaller they are, the faster they cook, so if speed is a necessity, take heed.
Now give the chicken a good rub with the red curry paste, until it’s all aglow with tingly redness, as if you massaged that sucker into heaven. Mix it up with the sugar, salt, garlic paste, and lemon juice. Then once that’s all soaked up and juicy, lay on the coconut flakes. Feel free to be as generous as you like. I have no clue how much I myself used, that’s just an estimate up there – measurements aren’t my strong suit, but I did make a note of what I did here for your benefit. (this falls under not following or making rules, I generally have little idea what goes on inmy own kitchen, when I’m in it. Oy!) The flakes aren’t bound to release toooo much flavor right now, but they will add a nice crunch later on. I wish I had used more, to be honest.
Set the chicken aside now, let the flavors mingle and get to know one another, in a half hour or so, the party will have started tor age, and you can get back in there then.
For now, slice up the red onion (you can use a regular yellow one too, they all have different flavors, feel free to do as you please) and lightly fry it in 2 tbsp of oil roughly, on low. Let the onions just melt… may take a few minutes longer than you like, but it’s so worth it. The smell is delicious and the texture is smooth… and when you add the garlic paste to it after a 5 minutes… yummm… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, we have a feast to create.
At this time you may want to prepare your veggies. Now, I had squash and bell peppers on hand, so I chopped those up into big chunks and slices. Because my chicken cubes were rather small, I wanted my veggies to seem “meaty” in comparison, even if their taste and texture will eventually be moist and soft as well. Visual stimulation is half the fun in eating, after all. Don’t deny it. I won’t believe you.
Once you feel your onions have loosened up enough, get that chicken and add it in, letting it pop and sizzle on medium heat. Cook until the chicken is nicely browned (or “redded” depending on how much paste you use) and then add the sliced veggies to that. Let them cook in the flavors a bit, taking in all the spices. Fee free to add some chili powder or the like at this point..
Then add water, let it start to bubble then reduce the heat to low, cover that deep pan up, and allow the dish to simmer for a good 10-13 minutes. Start up boiling your pasta (bring water to a rolling boil, add pasta, and voila! 8-10 minutes later, done.) I used whole wheat cappellini, it’s thinner than spaghetti so the lightness complemented my light flavoring.
Once your noodles are done, place them eagerly into a dish, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, let them wait in anticipation for the loveliness that is about to seduce them. Check on your chicken loveliness, turn the heat off, and gently slide the smooth chicken atop your pasta, letting the juices pour over ever inch and coat the noodles. Not a thick dish at all, the sauce is meant to flavor the noodles, not overpower them.
Regard the dish with admiration, then promptly dig in!