Comfort food with a healthy Thai twist

Cathy Hamilton Health Guide
  • It's cold here in the Midwest. And by "cold," I mean that low temperatures are into the single digits. Ice pellets fell from the sky yesterday. ICE pellets!! I'm talking cold, people. C-O-L-D!


    When weather like this blankets your world, a salad - no matter how fresh - just won't cut it. I crave something hot. VERY hot, as in high in temperature AND spiciness. I'm talking H-O-T, folks!


    Back in the days before high blood pressure and elevated blood sugar levels, I'd use the frigid cold as the perfect excuse to hit my favorite Thai restaurant. Thai food warms the cockles with both kinds of heat. My hands-down must-have was Panang Curry with jasmine rice. I could truly have it every day for a month and never get bored. There's an addictive quality to it (a secret illegal ingredient, no doubt) so I haven't dared to darken the door of any of my favorite Thai haunts lately. I'm afraid I'll be pulled into a satisfying but dangerous daily habit.

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    That's why I was thrilled to find the following crock pot recipe that provides the same fabulous panang curry taste without all the calories. I adapted it to make it even healthier and - mmmm, mmmm good! - it sure does hit the spot when the mercury dips to 2 below.




    Thai Red Curry Chicken



    Makes 5 servings.



    1 tablespoon red curry paste PLUS

    1 teaspoon red curry paste

    1/4 cup chicken broth

    1 can (14-ounce size) coconut milk (I used the 'lite' version for fewer fat grams)

    3 tablespoons fish sauce

    2 tablespoons sugar (I used Splenda - you can hardly tell the difference)

    2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs,fat trimmed, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used chicken breasts that I browned in red curry paste before adding to the pot)

    1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced

    1 can (8-ounce size) bamboo shoots, drained

    1/2 head fresh cauliflower, core removed and broken into florets

    3/4 pound fresh green beans

    2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves (optional)



    In the slow cooker crock, combine the curry paste, broth, coconut milk, fish sauce, and sugar; mix well with a whisk. Add chicken, onions, bamboo shoots, and cauliflower; stir to coat ingredients with sauce.


    Place green beans on top of mixture and cook on LOW for 8 hours.


    Before serving, stir the green beans into the dish, and add sliced basil, if desired.


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Published On: January 25, 2008