Coconut Curry Stir Fry

Lately (as I mentioned in a previous post) we’ve been stir frying everything. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s such a convenient way to cook up fresh meat and vegetables together in a healthy way. I think the wok pan that my mom got us for Christmas is one of Lucas’ favorite things ever. We use it almost every night of the week!

The best part to me about stir frying is that it can be healthy. Even though it’s got the word “fry” in there, it’s not the greasy, deep fried food that may come to mind first. We normally start with a little bit of olive oil and some crushed garlic and then stir in some chicken or beef. We’ve done fresh white shrimp a few times lately, too, but we throw those in a little closer to the end since they take such a short amount of time to cook through. Once the meat is mostly cooked, we add freshly chopped veggies. And just like that, we’re looking at a really healthy meal; and the stir fry then is the perfect vehicle for a wide variety of sauces. (Which may or may not always be as healthy, but do add flavor!) To stay low sodium, we’ve done some low sodium teriyaki sauce and even balsamic vinegar reduction to spice up our stir fry.

Last night we tried making coconut curry sauce. We used the coconut curry sauce recipe we found at Real Simple, which true to name, really was simple! Lucas did a stir fry with chicken and shrimp, and instead of just using our fall back of bell peppers as the veggie, we did an orange bell pepper, snow peas, and some broccoli florets. While the food was cooking, I whipped up the sauce, which took a total of 3 minutes to make. Really. (They weren’t kidding when they put it on Real Simple!) We also cooked up some whole grain brown rice to have ready.

The sauce was divine. I was surprised when I tasted the light coconut milk because it wasn’t sweet. I don’t know what I was expecting; I’d never had it before, but I love coconut and am usually exposed to sweetened coconut. I really loved that the coconut milk was definitely coconut flavor without the sweet. It along with some soy sauce makes up the main base of the sauce. With yellow curry powder, it was incredibly tasty and fragrant. We’re curious now to try other colors of curry to see how the different types taste. Isn’t it fun to try new things?

Dinner smelled and looked so good when we put it all together that I forgot to photograph the finished dish, but I’m sure you can imagine how beautiful a big bowl of brown rice topped with colorful stir fry and a creamy coconut curry sauce ladled over top looked. It tasted even better! I’m a little jealous that Lucas will be eating the leftovers for lunch today; I’m secretly hoping we can make it again sometime this week.

As far as notes or changes, we decided to serve the stir fry in a big bowl so that we could mix everything up really good and get that sauce on everything. The brown rice soaked it up well. As a side note, we served the sauce hot, and even though we did boil it for a minute and a half to help thicken it a bit, it thickened even more as it began to cool. I think the leftover sauce is going to be even tastier the next day because of that. It was considerably thicker after it was removed from the heat and had a chance to rest. So you may wish to make it up a little ahead of time and set it aside while finishing up if you like a thicker sauce. I also forgot to add the basil at the end of the sauce cook time, so that was an unintentional change we made to the recipe, but there was so much flavor going on between everything that I didn’t notice until afterward when I was looking at the recipe again. We learned that snow peas and small broccoli florets don’t need quite as much time as the bell peppers to cook, so next time we’ll throw those in maybe even after the shrimp so that they don’t get too soggy. The sauce had a little kick; this may have been due to the amount of curry powder (or type of curry we used) or the red pepper flakes, so if you want to tone it down a bit you may want to use a little less curry and perhaps omit the red pepper flakes entirely. But as a pregnant woman who can’t do anything spicy right now, I had zero problems with the spiciness level of the sauce. You may wish to test as you go if you’re apprehensive, and add more curry or add the red pepper flakes to taste.

I think if I’m going to do curry, I’d want it in a sauce cut with coconut sauce. It was that good. The sauce was creamy with a curry kick without being too overpowering. The last time we did a curry recipe it was pretty strong, even for someone that likes curry. If you’re looking for something different, I highly recommend the recipe; I know it will become part of our regular rotation around here!