Thai Red Curry in Young Coconut

July 22, 2016 2 Comments

Thai Red Curry in Young Coconut

In Thailand, a young coconut is sometimes used as a means of serving a curry on a special occasion. Even just a couple of years ago, this would never have been a suitable recipe for the UK due to the difficulty of obtaining young coconuts. I’m sure there are still parts of the UK where it might still be difficult to get one but now that stores like Marks & Spencer have started selling them I think it’s becoming pretty mainstream. They are also stocked in Asian supermarkets and other places. Now you could be forgiven for thinking this is just a fancy way of serving a curry, actually there is far more to it than that. Although many of these coconuts are sold here just for the coconut as a drink (Marks & Spencer’s even do a small one with a ring pull tab!), it is the young coconut flesh inside that combines wonderfully with Thai curries to create a really special dish. So, even if a little effort is required to obtain young coconuts I’m sure you won’t be disappointed with the end result, and you get the added bonus of a wonderfully refreshing drink!
Ingredients for Thai Red Curry in Young Coconut

If you can find very small coconuts, you can use them as individual dishes, otherwise most young coconuts on sale generally work best as a serving dish for 2 to 4 people. Opening up the coconuts to extract the flesh and use as a serving dish is something I deal with here . You can also serve the curry of your choice this way, would be great with a Thai green seafood curry as well. If you are cooking it as above the ingredients are fairly flexible, I’m using 500 to 600 g chicken, per packet of curry paste. A mild red pepper, some small tomatoes and a handful of frozen peas. As always, a good quality coconut milk, and knowing how to use it, will make all the difference to your dish. See Coconut Milk Summary for details. The kaffir lime leaves are optional and you can follow this link for advice on where to buy them Kaffir Lime Leaves. You will also need some soy sauce. The fresh green peppercorns are simply something I had in the fridge, although readily available in Asian stores they are not essential to the recipe. The pastes are complete but it is always a good idea to have a little lime juice to hand to adjust sweetness, if needed, to your personal taste at the end of cooking. You also adjust saltiness by adding a little more fish sauce or salt if required.

 Open and scoop out the flesh of the coconut following the instructions on this link.

young coconut flesh
Grill chicken under a fairly hot grill, you will be cooking fully in the sauce later so don't overcook it at this stage, generally speaking chicken breast will cook quicker than chicken thighs, depending on your grill this could be about five or six minutes. After removing from the grill place in a dish and marinate for five minutes with a spoonful of dark soy sauce.

Grill chicken
Sauté the cherry tomatoes in a little vegetable oil until the skins start to split. Reserve.

Sauté the cherry tomatoes
Add the curry paste to the pan and half a can of coconut milk using the thicker part of the milk at the top of the can if possible. Heat until it bubbles.

Heat curry paste and coconut milk
Add the grilled chicken to the sauce followed by most of the coconut flesh reserving a few strips for later.

Add coconut flesh to sauce
Stir and heat through for a minute or two until once again the sauce starts to bubble.

Stir through sauce
Add the remainder of the coconut milk.

Add coconut milk
Add the vegetables.

Add vegetables
Cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Cover and simmer
Put curry into coconut garnishing with the reserved strips of coconut flesh and some finely chopped kaffir lime leaf if you have it.
Enjoy!

Serving presentation

UPDATE. Comments box added.




2 Responses

Keith Ricketts
Keith Ricketts

September 01, 2018

My first try at a mythaicurry paste and it was everything I had hoped for. Very authentic tasting Thai dish and tasted delicious. I have to confess I didn’t bother with the coconut shell and it still tasted wonderful. And instead of grilling the chicken I put it in the oven at Gas mark 6 for 30 mins. Seemed to do the trick just fine. Can’t wait to try the other curry pastes I ordered.

Lucy
Lucy

August 30, 2017

I cooked this for a dinner party last week and am now regarded as a culinary goddess by my guests! I knew beforehand it would taste great as I’ve used this paste to make the duck and pineapple curry and Thai fish cakes (sooo yummy) but I was a little nervous about this recipe as it seemed quite a bit more involved with hollowing out the coconut etc. I did make a bit of a hash of my first coconut but it was plain sailing after that! Really worth going for this if you want to serve something special.

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