During my moments of recipe conceptualizing (which predominantly happen during my long commute to work) I’ve noticed that my brain gravitates towards specific food groups. Italian food ideas are my most dominant brain default. I could probably create a new pasta every day for 365 days. But, the other food group I tend to think most about is Asian cuisine. I love the exotic, bright, and spicy flavors in Malaysian, Vietnamese, and especially Thai cooking. Thought clouds of ginger and chili peppers are always dancing in my head. I have been experimenting quite a bit in this area so expect to get a handful of Asian inspired meals in the upcoming months! First up is this Thai curry chicken casserole.
A few months ago I picked up a packet of panang curry paste at the World Market section of my local Bed, Bath, and Beyond (My area now has a full World Market store to replace this). For those of you who are not familiar with World Market….I highly recommend you introduce yourself to it. But back to my curry… I fell in love with the flavors of the panang curry. It is a creamy peanut sauce that has an element of heat from the incorporated chilies. I have since not been able to locate this product. After reviewing the contents of what goes into a typical panang curry paste I was a bit overwhelmed. I knew trying to cook it myself would pose a challenge. Where would I find galangal (Thai ginger) or shrimp paste/sauce? Who knew a simple outing to Whole Foods would hold the answer.
Ironically I was browsing the Whole Foods aisle for a pre-made packet of panang curry when I came across both of these unusual ingredients. I knew at that point I would be attempting to make my own.
I had also seen recently seen a recipe for an Indian curry casserole that looked delicious so I combined my 2 ideas into one. That is how the Thai Curry Chicken Casserole was born. I won’t try and promise that this is an authentic panang curry but I was able to infuse some of my favorite Thai flavors into a dish that has become a new household staple.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have access to ingredients like the galangal and shrimp sauce you can modify the recipe (I’ve outlined below) to your needs!
Also, I have received a handful of requests to point out when a recipe is gluten and/or dairy free. This recipe is both!
…all for the love of the dish
- Ingredients for the Curry Paste:
- ¼ cup dry roasted peanuts
- 1tbsp red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen)
- 1 tbsp shrimp sauce (optional…I found in Whole Foods Asian food aisle near curry pastes)
- 1 tbsp lemongrass puree (Also bought at whole foods but you can by 1 fresh stick of lemongrass and zest it if you can’t find)
- ½ tsp Galangal-Thai Ginger (use a spice grater to grind it) or use ½ tsp regular ground ginger as an alternative
- Juice from ½ of a lime
- 1 garlic clove
- ¼ tsp each of salt and pepper
- Ingredients for the Casserole:
- 1 cup of jasmine rice
- 1 & ¼ cup coconut water
- ½ cup water
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 cup chopped fresh green beans
- 6oz sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 12 Thai Basil leaves (optional)
- 1 tbsp dry roasted peanuts, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Bring 1 cup of coconut water and ½ water to a boil. Add 1 cup of rice and bring back to a boil. Once boiling again, turn down the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes. Put the rice aside.
- Put ¼ cup peanuts into a blender or food processor. Pulse for 30 scond to 1 minute or until very finely chopped, almost a paste. Add the red curry paste, garlic, ginger, shrimp sauce (optional), lemongrass paste, lime juice, salt and pepper to the blender. Pulse again for another 1 minute.
- Slice your chicken breasts in half and then from there cut into 1 inch pieces.
- Heat the 1 tsp of coconut oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep pan. Pour the blended curry paste into the pan. Let warm for about 30 seconds that stir in the can of coconut milk. Continue to stir the curry paste into the coconut milk until fully blended and all “chunks” of the paste have dissolved.
- Add the pieces of chicken and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until cooked through. Add the green beans, mushrooms, red bell pepper and thai basil leaves to the pan. Cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the vegetables have just started to soften.
- Pour the curry chicken and vegetables into a baking pan. Top with the rice and the chopped peanuts.
- Bake for 20 minutes and serve with lime wedges.