Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Thai Chicken with String Beans

In our last posting I wrote that my wife Judy and I enjoy cooking dishes that remind us of the places we have traveled.  We also enjoy preparing dishes from places we haven't visited...yet.

Judy came across our featured recipe, Thai Chicken with String Beans, the other day and couldn't wait to try it out.  I thought she might be trying to plant the seeds of an idea for a future trip.  After eating the finished product, I was ready to pack up and go.  To Thailand that is.

I'm sure that I have never before tried many of the ingredients from the recipe as my knowledge of Thai food has been rather limited.  Until Judy and I embarked on this food journey last January, my level of cooking was as a Bar-B-Que guy.  Don't get me wrong, I love to Bar-B-Que, and I'm told that I'm pretty good.  But you wouldn't have found Thai food on my grill.

Don't be frightened by the list of unusual ingredients in our recipe. Judy has assured me that everything on the list can be found at your local Super Market, many items in the ethnic aisle.

When we sat down to eat, after taking our first bite, we just looked at each other and smiled. That smile didn't fade throughout the meal.  This is a real winner.  We hope you will try it and enjoy it as much as we did.

Thai Chicken with String Beans


3 cups uncooked string beans, washed well and drained, cut into bite sized pieces
1 spray cooking spray
2 tsp jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced.  Or 1 medium Thai Chile seeded and minced*
1 medium garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1 cup light coconut milk, divided
2 Tbsp green curry paste
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp fish sauce, (nam pla)

Note: Green curry paste and nam pla (fish sauce) are available in the ethnic sections. Fresh lemon grass may be difficult to find, chopped lemon grass in a jar can be a good substitute and should be found in the ethnic section.  Judy found the fresh lemon grass in the produce aisle.

1 Tbsp lemon grass, minced
1 pound uncooked, boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
2 Tbsp basil, fresh, minced
2 cups cooked brown rice, or cooked jasmine rice, kept hot


Steam green beans in a steamer basket on stove, or in a microwave, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain Well; set aside

Coat a large skillet with cooking spray and set over medium heat.  Add jalapeno or chile and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, about 1 minute.  Add 3/4 cup of coconut milk, curry paste, brown sugar, fish sauce and lemon grass.  Bring to a simmer.

Add chicken and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Add string beans and basil (mixture may separate). Add remaining 1/4 cup coconut milk (sauce will become smooth again).

Simmer until hot, about 1 minute more. Remove garlic clove and serve over rice.

Yields about 1 cup of chicken-string bean mixture and 1/2 cup of rice
 per serving.

*Do not touch pepper seeds with bare hands.  That's another story!!  Don't get me started!

This dish is hot, but not as fiery as some green curry dishes.  To increase the heat, add an additional tablespoon of green curry paste and/or crushed red pepper flakes to taste.

If you are on the fence about trying something really different, and/or Thai food is new to you, this dish is a great introduction, and it's delicious.  Enjoy.

Weight Watchers PointsPlus value per serving is 8, including rice. Makes 4 servings. Level of difficulty is Easy. Prep time is 15 minutes. Cooking time is 25 minutes.

Weight Watchers is a trademark of Weight Watchers Intl. Inc. www.weightwatchers.com

Photo by Barry Baruh

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