Gai Pad Prik Gaeng [Chicken and Green Beans Stir Fried in Curry Paste]

It’s already been a year since visiting Asia. Time Hop has done a great job of reminding me, showing the photos and check-ins from the three weeks spent in Thailand and Cambodia. I thought I would need longer than a year to detox from the sensual assault that was Asia, but here I am already thinking about going back. The Thai food we’ve been eating is definitely stirring that desire a little more than normal. The Mark Wiens videos have been viewed again, and he’s been posting more recipes as well as reviews of restaurants. His video of this dish absolutely prompted its making. The Tom Yum soup is on deck at some point. It’s easy. It has to be if you’re going to make it quickly from a road-side cart. The key is getting your hands on the ingredients [kaffir lime leaves] or making them yourself [curry paste]. Well stocked “ethnic aisles” in the store or even straight-up Asian markets make this pretty dang easy. In a perfect world, I’d make my own curry paste, but it just wasn’t happening. The thing is with pre-made curry paste is salt. Holy hell is it salty. In a traditional curry, the coconut milk takes care of that sodium. In this dish, there is nothing to help tone that salt down. Tread lightly if you don’t make your own. Start low and then make up a batch of rice to help with what saltiness is left.

When you get that magical balance, it’s just freakin’ delicious. It comes together so quickly, which is perfect for hungry stomachs that just don’t want to wait. The smell of this as it cooks is so hunger inducing, you’ll be thankful it’s just a quick stir fry.

I didn’t go out of my way to find the Chinese long beans. Plain ol’ green beans will do. Frying an egg on top is optional, but let’s just call it necessary because it should be. Keep the fish sauce and sugar around. I started low when I stir fried it up, and then added more to my plate as I ate.

Inspiration: Eating Thai Food

Ingredients

  • 1/2-3/4lb chicken breast, diced into small pieces. Think small and then dice it smaller.
  • 1/2lb green beans, ends trimmed and cut into small pieces
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • 2-3 tablespoons red curry paste [make your own]
  • 1-2 teaspoons fish sauce, or more to taste
  • 1/2-1 teaspoons sugar, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon high heat oil [canola or coconut]
  • Rice and fried eggs for serving

Preparation

Add the tablespoon of oil to a large pan or wok on low heat. Toss in your curry paste and stir it into the oil so it soaks it up. Stir often so it doesn’t stick or burn and let it heat up and smell delicious. It’ll darken as it toasts up. It shouldn’t be longer than a minute. Turn the heat up on high and add the chicken. Stir often, coating the chicken in the curry paste. Add about a teaspoon and a half teaspoon of sugar to start. Cook for 2-3 minutes, adding a little bit of water if necessary because it can dry out. When the chicken is fully cooked, add the green beans and lime leaves. Remove from the heat after about 30 seconds so the green beans are still crisp.

Serve with rice and top with a fried egg.



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