Caramelized Leek and Chicken Curry

Found this recipe a few weeks ago on kitchendaily.com, and since we had an extra leek sitting around, we decided to put it to use in this dish, which has a few interesting twists on a traditional Thai green curry (thanks to a unique cilantro pesto). We began by slicing the green tops off of two leeks, and then cutting them in half, running them under water and cleaning out dirt between each layer.

After the leeks were thoroughly cleaned, we diced them into small bits and added them to a pan with olive oil and a few drops of sesame oil. Use sesame oil sparingly, as it is surprisingly strong!

We left the leeks to caramelize for about ten minutes, stirring them frequently on a low to medium heat. Then we added two tablespoons of store-bought green curry paste to the mixture.

I then set to work making an asian-inspired cilantro pesto. I combined 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice, 1 tsp fish sauce, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, plenty of chili powder, and a handful of almonds in a food processor.

I processed the mixture until it became even, yet still full of texture. While I was making the pesto, Alex threw equal parts diced chicken breast (two in total) and Thai eggplant into the leek mixture.  If you can’t find Thai eggplant feel free to use any other form of eggplant or even zucchini.

Next we added 1.5 tablespoons of the cilantro pesto to the curry. The recipe for the pesto makes much more than what is called for, so expect it to pop up in another recipe sometime soon.

We then added 1/2 cup chicken stock to the curry, as called for, and I think this is where it went wrong. The curry was too salty, and we think this could have been easily avoided by simply adding 1/2 cup of water as replacement to the chicken stock. We alleviated the salt issue by adding lots of brown sugar and lime- interestingly enough, after a few days in the fridge the leftovers tasted decidedly more balanced. (Apologies for the block of stock- we forgot to defrost it before cooking and so we had to add the block to the curry and take it out when about 1/2 a cup of the stock had melted into the curry!)

Next we added one can of coconut milk to the mixture, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes while we waited for the rice to cook.

Once the rice was done, we plated up with some fresh cilantro and Thai basil on top. Overall, this was a delicious, new take on an old favourite of ours- just watch the salt! I think that by avoiding the chicken stock altogether and constantly tasting the curry to make sure all of the flavours are balanced will fix this problem. One we’ll definitely make again- it’s surprisingly delicious in tacos as well!

-priya

Caramelized Leek and Chicken Curry