Tuesday, January 17, 2012

52 Food Adventures–Thai Curry

Or, How I came to see the beauty of Coconut Milk

My choice this week for something that I have never made or cooked with or eaten is….Coconut Milk.

And I picked it because I wanted to make a particular family recipe, that has come down to me from my Great Aunt Margaret. Aunt Margaret and Uncle Kenneth were, for 10 years, Presbyterian missionaries to the country of Siam. Thailand to you and me….

You know, THAI CURRY.

This recipe came from her. And she brought it back from Siam when they had to return in 1937. And it is……FABULOUS.

I want to apologize in advance for the quality of the pictures. It was night time when I was cooking this. And I hadn’t ever made the recipe before. And there might be some pictures that are missing from the process.


Remember, the recipe link is down at the bottom of the post.


The first thing that you do is open the can of coconut milk. It is going to look solid and congealed on the top. That is the “cream”. You need to scrap that out, put it into a bowl and set it aside because you are going to add it at the very end.


It looks like marshmallow fluff and it smells like all the coconuts in the whole world have come to reside in your house. I just stuck my nose down in there and gave it a good sniff.


Then you are going to give the chopped onions a bit of a saute. I will tell you that the original recipe called for pearl onions to be added later in the recipe. I have an aversion to canned pearl onions as I think they have WAY too strong a flavor and aftertaste. So I fiddled a bit with the recipe.


Turn the heat down to low and then add the coconut milk


Then mix in the curry and the peanut butter. I found that it was best to sort of mix the curry into the peanut butter first and then add it to the coconut milk. I will tell you that I only use McCormick Curry (Spice Islands is owned by McCormick incase you wondered). I like the taste the best. And every curry tastes different so find one that you like and stick to it.


Then in goes the lemon juice and the brown sugar. Half a lemon seems to just about right for my taste.


Then the shredded chicken goes in.


Then the smooshed up garlic. All you need to do is smash it a bit, not even chop it. It is going to melt into the sauce and be wonderful.


Finally throw in a small stick of cinnamon. It sounds odd but you absolutely need it.

Just remember….to take it out before serving. I forgot. HHBL found it. Oops.


And finally, throw in some raisins. The recipe says to use them as a condiment but I put them in the actual curry so that they could plump up a bit. Then give everything a good stir.


But try not to be TOO enthusiastic about stirring.

Let everything cook gently while you are making your jasmine rice. Your house is going to smell just like a Thai restaurant!!


>>>>    THAI CURRY    <<<<

Oh, I have to tell you just a short family story to go with this. The final picture is taken on one of my Blue Willow plates. Grandma Amsler (Margaret’s youngest sisiter) also used Blue Willow plates, which is why I love them absolutely and completely. One day, many years ago, Grandma A. had placed her entire set of Blue Willow dishes out on a shelf. I think she told me once that she was cleaning out the cupboard where the dishes were kept and she needed to put the dishes some place temporarily.

At any rate, the shelf gave way. The dishes gave a gigantic SWOOOOOSH….and crashed to the floor. Almost all of them were broken. Now Grandma was a Presbyterian minister’s wife and there wasn’t money to be able to buy any dishes….

But Aunt Margaret took care of that.

She bought Grandma a new set.

What a sister!


  1. This is the Anna-and-the-King-of-Siam Aunt Margaret, right? Great story and the recipe looks great, too! I thought we got our blue willow love from our moms, but I see yours goes back generations. I am selling some of mine in a garage sale this weekend, which makes me sad, but not sad enough not to do it.

    1. Yes, it is "Anna and the King of Siam" Aunt Margaret. I am also making some decisions about some of my Blue Willow. I have a BUNCH of it and may put some up on ebay or Craig's list. We will see.

  2. Love this dish. I'm going to have to get my hands on some coconut milk (why don't I have any in the cupboard???). Regarding the pearl onions, I've never used them canned (yuck) and hate peeling fresh ones...soooooo, I use frozen. They're perfect.

    1. I couldn't find my bag of frozen pearl onions so went with the chopped which I liked better. I know I have a bag of them somewhere!!

  3. Debbie,
    I was present when Mom (your grandmother) broke those Blue Willow dishes. It was while we lived in Wauwatosa, a suburb of Milwaukee. There were few kitchen counters in the house, so in the process of cleaning the cupboard that normally stored the dishes we placed them on an old card table. You know the rest of the story.
    Love, Aunt Kathy

    1. I knew it wasn't a shelf! Thanks for the clarification Aunt Kathy.

  4. Yum!!! Can't wait to make / we love Thai Chicken and this recipe looks delish. Keep them coming - and love hearing the stories behind it all.

  5. YUM! I don't make Thai often because we live nearly walking distance to an insanely good and cheap Thai restaurant (pretty urban where we live now), but you make this look sooo good, I'll have to try it!

  6. Great post. I have posted on making a Thai red curry paste.http://caroleschatter.blogspot.co.nz/2011/11/how-to-make-proper-red-curry-paste.html


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