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Thai Green Curry with Chicken and Asparagus

Thai green curry paste has an incredibly bold, concentrated taste as well as spicy heat. Here, it is tempered by rich, creamy coconut milk. A sprinkle of fragrant Thai basil over the curry just before serving adds a freshness that perks up all of the complex flavors in the dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. asparagus
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each about 6 oz.
  • 1 tsp. sea salt, plus more, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. peanut or grapeseed oil
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-by-1/4-inch strips
  • 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (14 oz.) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3 Tbs. Thai green curry paste
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth or stock
  • 2 Tbs. Asian fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed small Thai basil leaves
  • 1 lime, cut into 8 wedges

Directions:

Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. While the water is heating, snap the tough stems off the asparagus spears and cut the spears into 2-inch lengths. Add the asparagus to the boiling water and cook just until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain well and rinse under cold running water until cool. Pat dry.

Cut the chicken breast halves across the grain on a slight diagonal into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the slices vertically into strips about 1/2 inch wide. Season the chicken strips with the 1 tsp. salt.

Heat a very large fry pan over medium-high heat until hot. Pour in the oil and swirl the pan to coat it well. Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the ginger and garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a plate.

Open the can of coconut milk (do not shake it) and scoop out 3 Tbs. of the thick coconut cream on the top. Return the fry pan to medium-high heat, add the coconut cream and curry paste and stir well. Whisk in the remaining coconut cream and milk, the broth and fish sauce. Return the vegetable mixture to the pan, stir in the chicken strips and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer briskly, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced slightly and the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the asparagus and cook until the chicken is opaque throughout and the asparagus is heated through, about 3 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt.

Scatter the basil over the curry. Divide the curry evenly among warmed bowls and serve immediately. Pass the lime wedges at the table. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Chicken, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2008).