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I never grew up on curries and tended to avoid them because of the ‘heat.’ However, in recent years, due to travels in Asia, I have had a change of heart and palate. The following recipe is mouth-watering, however, two recommendations.

1.       Don’t be generous: If you are not use to spicy hot food, reduce the amount of red curry paste (e.g. Use 2 teaspoons instead of 2 Tablespoons). Don’t be generous - better to add some heat later than have regrets because you put too much; you want to aim at having ‘no tears’ meal.

2.       Be generous: Load up on your favourite vegetables. This meal is a good way to get young and old to ‘eat their veggies.’


Ingredients (serves 4)

         1 1/2 Tablespoons oil
         250 g skinless sliced chicken fillet; breast or thigh according to your preference.
         1 onion, sliced
         1 (or more) red capsicum (bell pepper)
         200g (or more) mushrooms, stems trimmed, halved
         230g can sliced bamboo shoots, drained
         2 Tablespoon Thai red curry paste; use less if you are not used to spicy hot
         1 cup chicken stock
         1 Tablespoon fish sauce
         1 Tablespoon brown sugar
         1 can (375 ml) coconut cream or coconut milk (for a lighter version, there are evaporated milks that have a coconut flavour)
         1 cup (or more) frozen peas (try baby peas)
         Hand-full of fresh (Thai) basil, if available (or cilantro/coriander)
         Steamed basmati or jasmine rice, to serve


1.           Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, for 1 to 2 minutes each side or until golden. Add onion, red capsicum, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and sauté 1-2 minutes. Set to the side.
2.           Reduce frying pan heat to low. Add remaining oil to pan. Add curry paste and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until aromatic. Add stock and stir until curry paste has dissolved. Return chicken, onion, mushrooms, red capsicum, and bamboo shoots to the pan.
3.           Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Combine fish sauce, brown sugar and coconut cream/milk in a jug. Stir into curry. Cook another 5-10 minutes. Add peas near the end, lest they gets overcooked and soggy.

4.           Stir in basil or coriander. Spoon curry over rice. Serve.


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