People who’ve been reading this blog may know that I’m sort of a sucker for the Trader Joe’s food display. Without fail, I come home from that place with one or two items I never even dreamed of purchasing, and this past Tuesday was no exception. For some reason, my eye caught a benign jar of “Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce,” and within seconds I was eagerly stuffing it into my plastic basket. I don’t know why, really. Maybe it’s because I’ve been on a little Thai kick recently. Maybe it’s because I’m a huge fan of curry. Or maybe it’s just because I was hungry and impressionable. I don’t know. Whatever the reason, the promise of quick and simple Thai food emanating from my very own kitchen was too exciting for me to resist, and so I purchased the seductive little jar and brought it home for what would hopefully be a culinary trip to the depths of Bankok. A few photos after the jump…
First things first, I knew that as delicious as the description on the packaging made it seem, I knew I would not be able to get restaurant-style curry from a jar. It’s just not something that can happen. So, to keep things flavorful, I decided to go the Semi-Homemade route and add some fresh elements to my otherwise store-bought dinner. I did not, however, follow in the tradition of Sandra Lee and add something completely awful and antithetical to the preparations (I imagine she would have suggested cool whip and radishes to spruce up the curry). Speaking of Sandra Lee, check out this random clip of her. I just love the way she comes rushing at her pantry door so quickly that it looks like she damn near runs into it:
Anyway, I drizzled some olive oil in a skillet, warmed it up, and added shallots — all without measuring, which is a BIG deal for me. Eyeballing and me do not go well together (mostly in that I have no ability to properly estimate anything — size, weight, length, amount. It’s really horrifying). While the shallots sauteed, I seasoned and then chopped up a chicken breast, and then threw that in the skillet (along with some red pepper flakes). Again, continued success on all fronts. At this point, however, I had been so excited at the fact that I was cooking something without even a recipe that I totally forgot to take pictures of the process, thus making this post far less visually interesting than I would have wanted.
Well, the chicken cooked pretty quickly, and soon it was time to add the green curry sauce. It was a bit thinner than I had expected, and the color was nothing particularly entrancing. To be honest, it looked like it may or may not have been emitted from Linda Blair’s mouth at some point in the recent past. Nevertheless, it smelled nice; so I pressed forward with the stolid confidence of only the world’s top Michelin-anointed chefs.
This dish will win no points for presentation.
Anyway, once I had deemed that the simmer sauce had indeed simmered enough, I prepared myself a bowl of jasmine rice (which had been cooking away in the rice cooker), and poured the homemade curry on top of it:
At last it was time to try my semi-homemade creation. The verdict was… pretty good! Not excellent, and certainly not restaurant caliber by any means, but still a thoroughly flavorful dish that I was quite happy to consume. I probably put in too much olive oil to saute the shallots, but that was slightly accidental (my drizzling skills are not top notch, and there was an unfortunate surge of oil at one point). I will have to say that adding the shallots, pepper and garlic (I forgot to mention I added a minced clove at one point) were essential to the success. Without them, the curry sauce may have been a bit too bland.
Nevertheless, the meal turned out to be surprisingly hearty (thanks to all the rice, which took to the sauce beautifully). Will I make it again? Well, I have to. I have half a jar left. But maybe next time, I’ll use shrimp… Oh, what a world of possibilities!
Anyone else ever tried this sauce? Or make curry from scratch? Recommendations to enhance the dish?