How to Make Green Chicken Curry in Chiang Mai, Thailand


The fish cakes snarfed down, we went back into the classroom for Thai cooking course number 3 demonstration, Green Chicken Curry. ex-Marine and I ate this at Aroon Rai the other night for the first time and loved it. The main ingredient in this dish that would be the hardest for us to find and work with is the coconut milk to make coconut cream. Where do you get fresh coconut milk in Chicago? Pretty impossible… The instructor told us to buy canned coconut cream, add some oil to the wok first and then add the canned stuff. The other impossible ingredient in this recipe is the Thai eggplants. Two kinds were used: small green ones, about the size of a tomato, and little pea-sized eggplants that look exactly like big peas. The only eggplants/aubergines I’ve ever seen in the United States are the big purple ones.

This recipe called for: thinly sliced Chicken breast, coconut cream, green curry paste, two kinds of eggplants, fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves, sweet basil leaves, one big green chili and one big red chili. There is a trick to stripping the kaffir lime leaves off the stem (not used). Thank you Mr. Serious for doing this for ex-Marine. And unless I can find green curry paste along with red curry paste in a specialty store, you won’t see me making Green Chicken Curry at home.

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the instructor reducing the thick coconut milk for the Green Chicken Curry sauce

How to make video… You begin by putting the thick coconut milk in a wok and frying, stirring continuously, until the coconut oil begins to separate out. Add the green curry paste and fry for several minutes. When the paste is cooked, add chicken and cook until chicken turns white. Add thin coconut milk and all the eggplants when it is boiling. Simmer for four minutes and add the fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves and basil. Sounds easy but is only easy when you have assistants to do all the prep work. They lay out the ingredients, pre-make the curry sauces, take away and wash the dishes, pans and woks. How simple is that!

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adding the chicken and eggplants to the curry mixture in Chiang Mai

 

Same routine. Outside the classroom, pick up your ingredients from a woman/girl stationed at the end of your line of wok stations. She tells you exactly how much to take out of the prepared bowls lined up and filled with the individual spices. Take one teaspoon of this, a half teaspoon of that… and put in your own bowl. To the wok and the green curried chicken was done in a flash. More assistants came over to clean your chopping block, take away the wok to be washed and bring ingredients for the next dish. Instead of taking the green chicken curry to a table to eat, ex-Marine’s (and all other students) bowl of green chicken curry was set aside at his work station, covered with a towel and would be eaten after the next course was prepared.

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the Chiang Mai Cookery School finished product – Green Chicken Curry
 

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ex-Marine intent on his Green Chicken Curry

The curry smelled wonderful…

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