danger curry and coconut rice

Yep, here's Russell with another Danger Dinner. This time around I wanted to do something with our coconut rice recipe — one of the yummiest side dishes we eat around here, almost a meal in itself. I figured some chicken curry would be a good companion dish.

The coconut rice bakes for 18 minutes after some initial stovetop work, which makes it (a) good to help warm up the living room on chilly days and (b) clears off the range for other cooking. After it went in the oven, I started working on my curry. I cooked up some chicken, some thinly sliced bits of carrot, some red bell pepper, and some bamboo shoots. To this I added cubed tofu, a couple of teaspoons of yellow curry paste (Thai Kitchen brand, highly concentrated stuff, use with caution), some chicken stock, the rest of the can of coconut milk opened for the rice, some Thai fish sauce, and a few teaspoons of sugar, and simmered it all togther for a while. When the coconut rice came out, I shoveled a couple ladlesful into a bowl, scooped some of the curry over it, and served.

The result was pretty good, better than "just edible", but I made a tactical error putting the curry together. I should have sauteéd the dry ingredients in a frying pan rather than saucepans; meriko explained to me that the confines of a deep pan tends to retain moisture, steaming your food instead of browning it. Furthermore, the wet ingredients would have tended to boil off, leaving a thicker sauce behind instead of the watery thing I had.

The flavor of the curry was a bit on the bland side (except for heat); a better caramelization of the chicken, carrot, and pepper might have improved it; meriko also suggested more fish sauce (the fishy flavor of it hit me hard when I first put it in the pot, but it mellows and blends rapidly with everything else) and fresh basil (which, dammit, we had in the frig, slowly wilting, I saw it earlier today and tried to remind myself to use it!). On the bright side, the coconut rice is sooooo good, I could have just served the tofu, raw, on top of it, and it would have been edible, so any failings of the curry didn't ruin the meal, and maybe next time I can make it a bit better.

That's all the time we have tonight on Danger Dinner! Tune in next week for another exciting adventure!

Posted by russell on October 23, 2002 | TrackBack

Not only was it quite tasty, but it paired quite nicely with my '96 Navarry Estate Dry Gewurtztrameiner.

Posted by: meriko on October 23, 2002 9:55 PM

Sort of an interesting side note: I tried the favorite Borogove coconut rice recipe ( last night and oh my golly was it tasty!

One major change was that I didn't bake it in the oven as specified in the instructions - basically because I lacked a pot that would stand up to that sort of abuse. The rice cooked beautifully to perfection on the stove with the burner on low heat. So now my question is, what is the advantage to baking the rice in the oven versus letting it cook on the stove?

Posted by: rebecca on December 11, 2002 9:19 AM

I think the thickness of the coconut milk makes it prone to sticking and scorching, as compared with water-cooked rice; the baking is supposed to help keep the heat more even instead of concentrated on the bottom of the pan. If it didn't scorch and stick to the bottom for you, then everything's groovy. Did you set the heat lower than you would have for regular rice?

Posted by: russell on December 12, 2002 9:03 PM

Totally lower heat. I also feared sticking and browning so I popped the lid a few times to stir the rice around, which might have helped. It seemed to do the trick!

Ideally, having some good oven-friendly pots on hand next time might make things easier. Hmmm... maybe for Christmas? *hint to the husband*

Posted by: rebecca on December 12, 2002 10:29 PM
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