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Irene kept me out of the kitchen for almost a week. My first meal back is going to bring the fire.

Hurricane Irene took my power, water, internet, phone and use of my kitchen for 5 days.  I was flushing my toilets with pool water and filling my watering cans down by the river (literally).  Meanwhile, in the garden, dozens of peppers were reaching their peak ripeness and all I could do was fantasize about the fiery dinners and hot sauces I would be whipping up once the dark ages were over.

When my wife and I moved to the western corner of New Jersey, we noticed that there are very few options for authentic ethnic food.  The single Thai restaurant within a 20 mile radius of our bucolic homestead is overpriced and decidedly unimpressive.  (Don’t even get me started on the Indian food options).  I discovered a while back that to prepare a delicious Thai curry, all you really need is a can of coconut milk, hot chiles, fresh produce and some imagination.  This recipe combines a typical red curry with some Mexican elements.  The result is authentic fresh flavor and extreme heat.  The coconut milk offers a sweet creamy flavor which distracts you while the Thai chiles are creeping up and having their way with your tongue.  I used 6 Kung Pao chiles and 5 Thai Dragons for this recipe (11 peppers just felt right).

Ingredients:

1 can of Coconut milk

10 – 12 Thai Chiles (seeds in).

1 inch piece of fresh ginger root

1/4 cup scallions

2 large garlic cloves

1 ripe haas avocado

1 red ripe poblano (or bell)

1 lb chicken breast (fat trimmed and sliced into medallions)

1 Lemon (If I had lemongrass, I would have used it instead)

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

1 Tablespoon curry powder

1 Tablespoon ground coriander

1/2 Tablespoon Paprika

1 Tablespoon vegetable or canola oil

Directions:

Roughly chop the garlic, ginger, chiles, and scallions and combine in food processor with soy sauce, curry powder, coriander, paprika and your preferred amount of lemon zest.  Process all ingredients until you achieve a rough chile paste.

In a large saute pan, heat the oil, chile paste, and chicken until thoroughly cooked.  The chicken  only needs to be cooked through (do not brown or burn these ingredients).  Once the chicken is cooked, add slices of sweet red pepper and entire can of coconut milk and let simmer for at least 25 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with jasmine rice, sliced avocado and sriracha sauce.

Crack open 2 beers before you dig into this bowl of flames.

See you on Sunday for “Just the Tip”

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