Thai Chicken Coconut Curry Hot Pot

** Please see recipe below for the Thai Coconut Curry Broth before making the Thai Chicken Coconut Curry Hot Pot

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Thai Coconut Curry Broth

This soup has so many layers: the creamy coconut milk soothes the complex curry paste, the brininess from the fish sauce gives it all the salt you need, while the pineapple and lychee make it slightly sweet and sour. From poultry to meat or seafood, this soup base is very versatile, plus gluten free, low carb, paleo. With the option to make it vegetarian by swapping out vegetable stock for the chicken, it can please anyone - so I like to make it ahead and store in my refrigerator for quick, flavorful meals. On a busy weeknight, I serve it poured over a hot bowl of steamed rice finished with a mess of fresh herbs on top.

Skill Level: Moderate

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Makes 8 cups (2 quarts)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons red curry paste

3 ¼ cups full-fat coconut milk (approximately two 13.5 oz cans)

4 cups Chicken Stock (you can substitute store bought low-sodium broth) or 4 cups Vegetable Stock if you want it vegetarian.

¼ cup lychee (about 6 small canned lychee), finely chopped

¼ cup pineapple, finely chopped

1½ tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon grated palm sugar (you can substitute with light brown sugar)

4 kaffir lime leaves

1 teaspoon kosher salt

  1. In a 4-quart hot pot or large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high (about 425 degrees for an electric hot pot). Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

  2. Stir in the the coconut milk, stock, lychee, pineapple, fish sauce, sugar and lime leaves and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until very flavorful, about 20 minutes.

MAKE AHEAD The broth can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stove top.

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Thai Chicken Coconut Curry Hot Pot

The most difficult thing about this recipe was coming up with a name for it. My Thai friend Katie was explaining to me that you cannot call a curry a hot pot in Thailand because they are two separate things. Thai curries are traditionally thicker in consistency, while Thai hot pots are more similar to traditional dashi-based Japanese recipes. I think the creaminess of the coconut milk and the robust profile of curry lend themselves well to hot pots - the meat and vegetables soak up so much of that flavor in a brief time. Here, I use a base that has all of the complexity of a creamy Thai curry, but it is thinned out with a bit of chicken broth so it’s thin enough to swish your vegetables around in.

Skill Level: Moderate

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

To Make in Advance: Thai Coconut Curry Broth (above)

Preparation: Stovetop

3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces

Kosher salt and pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

8 cups (2 quarts) Thai Coconut Curry Broth (see Note)

6 baby eggplants, such as Thai or fairy tale, stemmed and quartered (you can substitute 1 medium eggplant, cut into bite-size pieces)

½ small kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), seeded and thinly sliced

¼ head Napa cabbage, cored and the thick white parts cut into bite-size pieces

1 cup cherry tomatoes

2 cups loosely packed thai basil leaves (you can substitute regular basil)

¼ cup Red Thai chili - stemmed, seeded and minced (you can substitute Fresno chilies; optional)

Steamed rice, for serving

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add half of the chicken and cook, stirring once or twice, until browned, but not cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a clean bowl and repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and chicken.

  2. Heat a 4-quart hot pot or large saucepan over medium-high (about 425 degrees for an electric hot pot). Add the broth and chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the eggplant, kabocha, cabbage and tomatoes and continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Stir in the basil leaves and chilies, if you would like a spicy soup.

  3. Ladle into shallow bowls and serve with steamed rice.

NOTE

This recipe is easy to scale up or down depending on the size of your group and hot pot. Just be sure that your hot pot is filled about halfway with broth. If the liquid reduces overtime, add more.