Off the Shelf: Green Curry Chicken with Sweet Potato
Off the Shelf has a chapter on Asian food, with lots of streamlined preparations for classic dishes. This is a very simple curry that tastes great.
The sweet potato plays nicely against the heat of the curry paste, and the coconut milk ties it all together. If you have a well-stocked market or an Asian market in your area, you should be able to find kaffir lime leaves, a classic ingredient in Thai cooking. Hay's recipe calls for the lime leaves to be shredded, but I prefer to leave them whole, simmer them in the curry, and then remove them before serving, as their texture is rather crunchy and their flavor is quite strong. You can use them either way: simmer them in the sauce for a hint of their flavor, or slice them into very fine slivers and add them to the sauce.
Hay's ingredients list calls for "coconut cream." In the United States, we have a product called cream of coconut, a sweetened beverage mixer used in piña coladas. This is not the product you want! I looked around a bit to see if there is a specific product called "coconut cream" in Australia (Donna Hay is an Australian food writer), but it seems that the terms coconut cream and coconut milk are used interchangeably. In the U.S., look for coconut milk. I prefer Chaokoh brand.
As is usual with Thai curries, the sauce for this dish does not get terribly thick. Be sure to serve it over steamed white or jasmine rice to soak up all the sauce. I've had to increase cooking times slightly from what was originally specified in the recipe -- my sweet potatoes took longer than the original 25 minutes to get tender.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: about 40 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (1/2 inch)
3 Tbsp peanut oil, divided
2 Tbsp Thai green curry paste
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 6 oz. each
1 cup chicken stock or broth
1 cup coconut milk
4 kaffir lime leaves, whole or finely shredded (see note above)
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the sweet potato dice in a baking dish and toss with 2 Tbsp peanut oil. Bake until soft and golden, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the curry paste and 1 Tbsp peanut oil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the chicken and cook for 1 minute per side. Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, and lime leaves. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
To serve, place sweet potato dice on top of a bed of steamed jasmine rice. Place chicken atop the potatoes, then spoon on curry sauce and sprinkle with cilantro.