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Red curry paste adds intense flavor

It's red, but it isn't red hot. And that's why it's the sort of curry the average American is going to love.

I'm talking about red curry paste, one of a literal rainbow of intensely flavorful Southeast Asian seasonings.

To be clear, curry pastes are not the same as the curry powders most people know, though they do share some ingredients. Curry pastes — which are used in Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian and Indian cooking — combine dry spices with ground fresh herbs and roots, garlic, chiles and other ingredients to form thick pastes.

These pastes often are classified by color. Green curry paste, for example, is a fiery Thai blend that combines green chiles, lemongrass, garlic, shrimp paste and kaffir lime leaves. It usually is blended with coconut milk to season beef, pork and chicken.

Yellow curry paste is a bit milder and usually sports garlic, lemongrass, galangal (a relative of ginger), cumin, cinnamon and turmeric. It's popular for adding to soups.

But the most versatile and widely used is red curry paste, a mash of red chiles, coriander roots and leaves, shrimp paste, lemongrass, garlic, shallots and galangal.

It's got some kick, but it won't sear your mouth. It's used with everything from chicken, duck and beef to pork and shrimp. And it lands in everything from stews, curries and soups to dressings, marinades and condiments.

Conveniently, red curry paste also is the easiest variety to find at the typical American grocer. It usually is packed in small glass jars or cans and can be found in the Asian section. Once opened, the remainder can be refrigerated for months.

>>EASY

Red Curry Chicken Noodles

1 (12-ounce) package fresh fettuccine pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, cored and diced

1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk

1 ½ to 2 ½ tablespoons red curry paste (more or less to taste)

Meat from a 1 ½-pound rotisserie chicken

cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 lime, quartered

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan over medium-high, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and bell pepper, then saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk and red curry paste. Stir until the curry paste and coconut milk are smooth, then bring to a simmer.

Chop or pull the chicken meat into bite-sized chunks, then add to the coconut milk mixture. Toss well to coat evenly. If the meat is cold, return to a simmer. Stir in the cilantro.

Serve the pasta topped with the chicken. Alternatively, add the drained pasta to the pan with the chicken and toss to mix. Just before serving, squeeze a bit of lime juice over each plate.

Serves 4.

Source: Associated Press

Red curry paste adds intense flavor 04/24/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 5:30am]

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

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