Thai red curry meets Italian risotto in a mind-blowing mashup of flavor.
Trust me, it’s better than it sounds.
You usually spoon a heaping scoop of rice into your curry anyway, so why not cook it that way to begin with? When you think of it that way, it doesn’t sound so weird. At least that’s what I told Taylor to convince him to try my crazy idea (he’s skeptical sometimes, and I don’t blame him, as I’ve had ideas crash and burn like you wouldn’t believe).
This idea, luckily for all of us, turned out to be a winner.
Essentially, you start the dish like you would any risotto, by browning the meat first then removing it from the pan, then cooking the onion, garlic, and, in this case, ginger in the fatty and flavorful remnants left in the pan. Then add the arborio rice, cooking it along with the aromatics and a generous spoonful of red curry paste, to give it a lovely toasty flavor. Then add your chicken broth, a little at a time, stirring consistently and not adding more liquid until the previous batch is absorbed (this process, as tedious as it might be, is the key to creamy risotto). However for this version, in addition to chicken broth, I also added a full can of coconut milk for added creaminess and richness, and finished it off with some sugar, soy sauce, and a squeeze of lemon juice to balance out the flavors.
We filled it with the toppings from our favorite Thai curry recipe, including fresh cherry tomatoes and tart chunks of pineapple that perfectly cut the richness and spice of the rest of the dish. I implore you NOT to skip the pineapple. I don’t even like pineapple and it was my favorite part of this dish.
Proof that combining the textures and techniques from one culture with the flavors of another can take your tastebuds wonderful places.
Thai Red Curry Risotto
Italian risotto meets Thai red curry, with chicken thighs, cherry tomatoes, fresh pineapple chunks and basil.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 4), cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1 large onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup chopped)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon chopped)
- 2 teaspoons grated or finely minced ginger
- 3/4 cup arborio rice
- 3 tablespoons red curry paste
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth, warmed
- 1 1/2 cups (1 12oz can) coconut milk, divided
- 1 tablespoon lime juice (from 1 lime), or to taste
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 4 baby bok choy, tough core removed and sliced into 1/2-inch strips
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup cubed pineapple chunks
- small handful basil leaves, torn or cut into thin ribbons
- Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces and cook for 7 to 9 minutes, flipping once or twice, until evenly browned. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, then add onion, garlic, and ginger to saucepan. Saute until fragrant, about 1 minute, then add rice and curry paste, stirring until evenly coated.
- Add warm chicken broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until broth is mostly absorbed before adding more. Once all of the chicken broth has been added (about 20 minutes), add 1 cup of coconut milk and stir until mostly absorbed and rice is almost done, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add remaining 1/2 cup of coconut milk along with lime juice, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Return chicken to saucepan along with bok choy and tomato and cook until rice is al dente and chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Stir in pineapple chunks and basil. Taste and add additional lime juice, sugar, and/or soy sauce as desired.
- Divide among serving bowls and serve warm, topped with more basil if desired.
Did you make this recipe?
Let us know what you think!
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We had this last night and it was beautiful!!! I added mushrooms and snow peas. Also put a lot more red curry (whole jar). We have a large family so I did 3 cups of rice. I cooked it in a big electric frying pan on low and added all stock at the beginning instead of slowly and it turned out just fine!
Just finished eating this dish. It was loved immediately by my family who insisted it go straight on to our family favourite meals list.
However, I only used 1 tablespoon of red curry paste, not 3.
I note that most of the “Yays” were prior to actually making the recipe and did not comment after making it
Flavors were excellent but this recipe was a fail. Texture was awful glop. I’ve made risotto often enough to recognize that the rice to liquid ratio was way off, even when I didn’t add the last half cup of coconut milk. I’ll make this again with appropriate adjustments.
This was great! My whole family really enjoyed it. I used lite coconut milk and a bit more curry sauce (probably another Tbsp — I had a small jar and used the whole thing) and it was great! Next time I make it I will definitely put in even more bok choy, and also consider a few other veggies (zucchini, yellow squash). Thanks for the great recipe!
just posted about this on my blog – made it a little different but still SO good!!!!
We tried this the other night and I did not care for it. The recipe worked out well in terms of the instructions. I found it to be insanely creamy and greasy though, to the point that I didn’t enjoy it at all. I still really like the idea of this and want to try it again with much less oil, and probably light coconut milk instead of full-fat. This way the acidic notes and the curry paste could shine through more. I’m open to the idea that this might just be due to my personal taste since other reviewers seemed to enjoy it. For what it’s worth my boyfriend had no problem scarfing it down.
I drool over these recipes week-to-week. I’ve always had such a hard time getting myself to cook (cooking for one is tough), but money is tight (especially when saving for travel!), so I decided to stop being lazy and made this this week. O. M. G. This might be my favorite thing I’ve ever made! I had to sub out the coconut stuff since I’m allergic (used European style butter for the oil and just regular milk for the coconut milk) but it was still so yummy! Heating up my last bowl of it now. Sad day. Trying hard to convince myself not to make it again for the whole of next week, too. : P
Made this for lunch this week–really tasty! I want to reiterate not to put too much chicken broth in at a time–I got impatient and almost screwed things up majorly. Also, don’t put your tomatoes and pineapple (I used mango) in until the VERY end–I added them too early and my tomatoes got smushy. Also, don’t be afraid to add more basil!
All of those tips being said–I’m garbage at following recipes and this still came out delicious!
I rarely make anything I see right away, so much goes to Pinterest purgatory, but this. This is going on the menu right away. Brilliant idea!
This is seriously divine!! I read the recipe name to my boyfriend and he was instantly ready to have that :D I am a vegetarian so no chicken for me but made it with spinach, zucchini and tomato instead. For lack of more coconut milk, I only used half a can but found it perfect! Definitely a keeper!!
Wow – this is such a fantastic idea! I love risotto and love curry, so makes sense to put them together! Winner indeed!
I absolutely love this idea. I have been craving some thai food lately so maybe Im going to have to give this recipe a go.
So delicious dish! Must try it this weekend!
This is the 2nd red curry recipe I’ve seen this week! Must be the universe telling me to try it out. I love pineapple, but am vegetarian. Do you think doubling the pineapple might be a good sub for the chicken?
Ooh! What a combination of cultures! It looks absolutely delicious, however. I love my red curry!
Amazing! This reminds me of a dish served at a restaurant in Asheville that I love, but of course theirs is with noodles or a thinner rice. I love this creative non-traditional rice approach!
Fusion food–how trendy! Looks delicious, can’t wait to try!
This looks soooo good. Is there anything I could substitute the chicken with to make this vegan/vegetarian?
Chickpeas work fabulous
I’m so into this kind of dish and I LOVE the combination of flavors – great idea! Can’t wait to try it!
This doesn’t sound weird…it sounds absolutely magical! Can’t wait to make it later this week. Thanks for the great recipe, as always :-)
This is such a great idea – combining two of our favorites!
Oh yeah! This is so going on the week’s menu! I can’t wait to try it!