A few months ago, after I came down with my 50th cold/flu of the year, I started think maybe I needed to change my diet and up my vitamin intake to combat the germs my body was not fighting off. Being in a preschool with 18 germy 3-year olds took a toll on my immune system! I began a 3 week detox cleanse to rid my body of sugars and other garbage and kick start healthier eating habits. For 3 weeks I had to give up caffeine (my sweet, sweet coffee!), sugar (noooo!), red meat, dairy, wheat, yeast, alcohol, nuts, soda, deep-fried anything and no fruit. Yep. I'm sure you're wondering what the heck I ate! I assure you, I would not have done the detox if I didn't have delicious food to eat so I was very strategic in my planning.
Turns out that a lot of Asian recipes fit the bill, specifically Thai food, which happens to be one of my favorites! Score for me. These noodles were so spicy and slurpable, my husband and I couldn't get enough. I made this recipe twice in two weeks we loved it so much. It is indeed gluten free, dairy free, sugar free and minus the chicken, could be meat free. Despite all that, I'd eat this even without being on a detox. It's fantastic!
While some of you may be tempted to swap the coconut milk for light, make sure at least one can is full fat. You need the thick coconut cream from the top of the can to melt into coconut oil to cook your chicken in. Very authentic and full of flavor! When you are at the store, shake the can of coconut milk near your ear. If you can't hear any sloshing around thats good. It means the coconut milk is good quality with lots of rich coconut cream at the top.
Recipe adapted from Chef Michael Smith
1-2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
1 bunch of cilantro, stems and leaves chopped separately
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
3 cups of chicken stock
6 lime leaves
1 tbsp ginger root, grated
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 8oz package of wide rice noodles
2 cups bok choy, chopped
1 cup bean sprouts
4 green onions, minced
Preheat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. From the full fat can of coconut milk, scoop the thick coconut cream from the top of the can into it. Add the red curry paste as the cream melts into coconut oil. The mixture will start to sizzle as the oil then heats up. Add the chopped cilantro stems and chicken and stir-fry until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Add the coconut juice from the first can as well as the entire contents of the second can of coconut milk, chicken stock, lime leaves, and fish sauce. Grate the ginger into the broth (easier to do if the ginger root is frozen). Simmer for 20 minutes, until the broth has begun to thicken slightly. Remove from the heat.
Place the rice noodles, bok choy and bean sprouts into the broth where they will quickly soften in about 5 minutes. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the cilantro leaves and stir gently.
Ladle into large bowls and garnish with the green onions and the remaining cilantro.
Click here for printable version of Red Thai Curry Noodles
My husband and I loved these noodles. We love spicy Thai food. I found that 1 tbsp of curry paste was perfect for me: warm with lip tingling sensations. 2 tbsp was just a tad much, but my husband LOVED it with 2 tbsp of curry paste. I would suggest starting with 1 tbsp of curry paste and see how you like it. You can always add more as it's cooking. Made even with 1 tbsp of curry paste the dish was too spicy for my young kids, so I steeped some plain rice noodles in boiling water and drained them. I tossed them with a smidgen of chicken and bok choy from the pot...it was just enough to give the noodles flavor, protein and veggies but the sauce was so diluted they didn't complain of spiciness.
With leftover Thai red curry paste, you can make: