Monday, May 9, 2011

Time to Thai one on!

...see what I did there?

In seriousness, though, my cravings for Thai food remain.  There must be some sort of essential nutrient or vitamin in curry for which I have a severe deficiency.  Luckily, I do believe I've found a way to have my curry and eat it too.

Mmm.  Matsaman. This one has beef in it; stay tuned for the (better) chicken version...
Have I talked about how much I love matsaman/massaman/masaman/however-you-spell-it curry before?  If I haven't, I need to now.  I have my dear Uncle-but-more-like-big-brother Pete to thank for encouraging me to try this Indian-meets-Thai dish.  Mmm, Asian fusion done right.  I don't even know how to accurately describe the flavour to you.  It's got the tangy tamarind, rich peanuts, warm spices like cinnamon and cardamom, salty fish sauce... it's a party in your mouth, and everyone's invited.  It's not particularly spicy (unless you want to make it so), just spiced.  Fan-freakin'-tastic.

My boys!  Figaro and Hubs joining me for curry.  I think I'll start calling this manifestation e-Hubs.
So, onto my figure-friendly recipe.  After pining for it, but not wanting to spend almost $40 to get it, I took Rick Gallop's G.I. Diet Cookbook out from the Winnipeg Public Library. This is adapted from the "coconut curry beef" recipe, which originally called for beef (duh) and yellow curry paste.  I tried the beef version, and to be completely honest, I didn't love it.  Chicken it is!  This is how I doctored it to be a reasonable, delicious facsimile of my favourite Thai menu item:

Better-for-you Matsaman Curry
Inspired by the G.I. Diet Cookbook by Rick Gallop

Makes 4 servings
  • 3 Tbsp orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 2 small-medium onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp (at least!) Matsaman curry paste**
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp light smooth peanut butter (since nobody seems to have caught on and made a light CRUNCHY pb... sadness...)
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp Splenda
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (if you don't like it, you should probably sit this one out)
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted peanuts, chopped
  1. In bowl, whisk together orange juice, fish sauce, cornstarch, and soy sauce. Stir in chicken, tossing to coat. Marinade in the fridge while you get the rest of the ingredients together.
  2. In large non-stick frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook onion and garlic for 5 minutes until softened. Stir in curry paste and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken and stir-fry until thoroughly cooked (no longer pink in the middle)
  3. Next, stir in coconut milk, peanut butter, lime juice, and Splenda. Stir well to ensure all ingredients meld together. Cook, tossing to coat meat with sauce, for another 2 minuts. Garnish with cilantro and peanuts.
  4. Serve alongside steamed sugar snap peas and basmati rice!  Mmm.
**It might be slightly tricky to find Matsaman curry paste.  You MIGHT find it in your local large grocery store, if it has a decent "International" section.  If not, Google your local Asian food market.  Aroy-D makes a very delicious version, and I know I've seen their products at Real Canadian Superstore before... try your luck!  If not, substitute yellow or red curry paste instead; they tend to be easier to find.
For the love of Pete, do NOT forget to start cooking your rice before your curry if you're using a rice maker.  9 times out of 10, I forget this crucial step and end up waiting around for the telltale beep.  This time I remembered.  I sort of like how my kitchen is reflected in the surface...
Saucy!  This time, it's chicken.  MUCH better than the beef, honestly.  I think the marinade in the first step keeps it nice and tender and juicy!

Honestly, this curry is so flavourful and rich that I didn't believe it was actually healthy.  Then, I got proof!  In keeping with the goal to eat healthier and trim down, my dear sisters, Ni and Sar, convinced me to sign up for an account on  Now, ignore the horrific name.  This is basically a food-and-exercise tracking tool... it's pretty neat.  My favourite feature?  You can enter your own recipes, and the website will calcuate fat, calories, etc. based on the ingredients and number of servings.  It even lets you share recipes with the rest of the community.  This, obviously, is right up my alley.  I've already submitted several of my favourites.  Clocking in at (approximately) 8.6 g of fat per serving, and ~330 calories (including rice and snap peas!), this is pretty decent for a dinner.

Alright.  Enough of that.  I promise I won't turn into a diet-obsessed blogger; just needed to spread the word about that neat tool, and how it totally justified this deliciousness for me.  Give it a shot if you like; you can find me listed as GeckoGurl1984!

Hoping she'll be able to continue finding more healthy-but-delicious international cuisine,

1 comment:

  1. I've never heard of that one! I use and Love them! (And I also really love how our computers match! Hehe.)