Coconut Curry with Chicken & Basil

Although I absolutely love this version of coconut curry, I hesitate to tell you the origin of the recipe. I don’t want anyone running for the hills, but fibbing about recipes is a definite no-no, so I’ll give you a clue: since yesterday was Fat Tuesday, it follows that today must be Weight Watchers er, Ash Wednesday.  Yes, the origin of today’s dish can be found inside an old and dog-eared Weight Watchers cookbook.  It’s a ‘points-friendly’ recipe (8 to be exact), for anyone out there who cares.  Some of you do, so this one’s for you!

The rest of you, don’t worry!  It’s good, I tell you — really good!  It makes great use of several sale ingredients, and doesn’t taste a thing like a Lean Cuisine.  Think of it this way:  with the calories you’ll save on dinner, you can justify having a bowl of ice cream while you watch the Olympics or American Idol later on tonight.  I’m just sayin’.  Some of us like incentive plans.

Don’t ask me how the idea of coconut curry got lodged in my head…but I’m pretty sure it happened sometime between 8:45 and 10:00 this morning.  Nevermind that during that time I was perched atop a bike, sweating my face off at the gym.  Thoughts of food know no bounds for this twisted blogger; bizarre cravings pop up at the oddest moments, even whilst spinning.  It’s an illness.  I’m working on it.



Serves: 4

Weight Watchers Simply Delicious Cookbook, (copyright 2002), p. 96.

  • 2 t. canola oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 large), 1” dice
  • ½ t. salt
  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 T. packed brown sugar
  • 2 t. Thai red curry paste
  • ½ t. ground cumin
  • ½ lb. fresh asparagus (on sale), cut diagonally into 1” pieces
  • 1 c. coconut milk (Thai Kitchen brand is on sale; find it in the Asian aisle on the bottom shelf) **see note**
  • 1 T. fish sauce
  • ¼ c. fresh basil (on sale), chopped, plus additional sprigs for garnish
  • Hot cooked rice for serving (I love the Texmati that’s on sale this week)

Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet, then add the chicken and sprinkle with the salt (it may be necessary to do this in batches; do not crowd your chicken!).  Saute until browned on all sides, then transfer to a plate.

Heat the remaining teaspoon of oil in the same skillet over low heat, then add the onion, garlic, and ginger.  Saute until fragrant and the onions are softened, about five minutes.  Stir in the brown sugar, red curry paste, and cumin; cook one minute, stirring constantly.  Add the coconut milk, the fish sauce, and the chicken; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer (covered) for five minutes.  Add the asparagus and stir to combine.  Replace the cover and continue to simmer for an additional three minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and asparagus is crisp-tender.  Stir in the basil.  Serve chicken curry over rice; garnish with additional basil sprigs if desired.

**NOTE:  the recipe calls for only a ½ cup of coconut milk.  I couldn’t resist…I added a whole cup.  Obviously my version is well over 8 points, for anyone who’s counting!

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | February 18th, 2010