Bowl of Chicken Red Curry with Bamboo
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Chicken & Bamboo Red Curry
  -   Gaeng Phed Kai Sai Nawmai
4 w/rice  
1 hr  
This is an excellent and very popular Thai curry. Thai restaurants in North America usually cut the bamboo in very narrow strips, but in Thailand they like wide pieces. This recipe is moderately spicy, but exact hotness will depend on the curry paste used and how much.


Chicken Meat (1)
Bamboo Shoots (2)
Thai Basil Leaf
Chili, Red (3)
Kaffir Lime Leaves (4)
Coconut Milk (5)
Red Curry Paste (6)  
Fish Sauce (7)
Palm Sugar (8)
Prep   -   (25 min)
  1. Slice CHICKEN about 3/8 inch thick and cut slices into bite size strips or chunks.
  2. Slice BAMBOO SHOOTS about 1/8 inch thick and cut to a size similar to the Chicken.
  3. Remove BASIL LEAVES from stems, and start them soaking in cold water. This will help keep them green when added to the curry.
  4. Blast the CHILIS black with your propane torch and brush off the skins under running water (see Note-9). Seed them and cut into strips about 1/4 inch wide and 1 to 1-1/2 inches long.
  5. Roll LIME LEAVES up (end to end) as tight as you can. Slice these rolls into threads as fine as you can cut them. Discard the central stem and make a few cuts through the threads to shorten them. Mix with Chilis.
  6. Open COCONUT MILK without shaking. Scoop about 6 ounces off the top, including all the cream. Hold separate from the rest of the Coconut Milk.
Run   -   (35 min)
  1. In a sauté pan or wok, place the Coconut Cream part of the Coconut milk. Bring to a boil (carefully), then stir in Curry Paste until evenly distributed. Keep at a strong simmer over moderate heat, stirring until red oil starts to separate.
  2. Stir in Chicken. Cook over moderate heat, stirring often for about 5 minutes until you again see red oil starting to separate.
  3. Slowly stir in remaining Coconut Milk and Water. Bring to a boil, then stir in Bamboo Shoots. Bring back to a simmer and stir in Fish Sauce and Palm Sugar. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in Chili mix and simmer another 5 minutes. You can hold it hot for awhile at this point.
  5. When ready to serve - take off heat. Drain Basil Leaves and stir in well. Serve immediately with plenty of steamed Jasmine rice.
  1. Chicken:   Weight is skinless and boneless. I always use thigh/leg meat for better flavor and texture than the cardboard breasts we get around here.
  2. Bamboo Shoots:   Fresh is best, but a hassle and not always available. Best to buy in vacuum pack bags (unless your market has them in a bulk tub). Canned is available everywhere, but needs to be par boiled for 5 minutes or more to remove the metallic taste.
  3. Chili, Fresh Red:   Around here we all use Red Ripe Fresnos, but other medium hot red chilis, such as Holland Red will work. For details see our Chili Page.
  4. Kaffir Lime Leaves:   These come 2 to a stem, so this recipe requires 3 stems. For details see our Kaffir Lime page. If you don't have them, grate the zest of a large lime (green only).
  5. Coconut Milk:   Unsweetened. Coconut milk from Thailand is excellent. I use Aroy-D, but there are other fine brands. A good quality Coconut Milk will have lots of heavy cream at the top. Check the recipe - you may need to avoid shaking the can before opening.
  6. Curry Paste, Red:   You can buy commercially made Thai Red Curry Paste, even at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, but it is better made at home - see our recipe Red Curry Paste. Our recipe is probably a little hotter than most commercial versions, but some of those are so salty you may have to cut back on the Fish Sauce.
  7. Fish Sauce:   This clear liquid is as essential to Southeast Asian cuisine as it was to Imperial Rome. If you are unfamiliar with it, see our Fish Sauce - Introduction page.
  8. Palm Sugar   This is available in pretty much all Southeast and East Asian markets. I buy it in lumps of about 1 Tablespoon each. If you don't have it, use a lightly refines sugar such as Turbinado.
  9. Comments   Skinning the chilis is optional, but I always do it as it improves the texture, and it's particularly important if any of this curry will be reheated. Some recipes add a vegetable. If I did, Long Beans would be my choice, about 6 ounces, cut 1-1/4 inches long and stirred in with the Chilis.
  10. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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