Not long ago I prepared a Thai dish called Massaman Shrimp and since then have made it a few times. OK, maybe a few dozen times. It is one of those dishes that cooks up quickly but majorly delivers in the flavor department. But as with all recipes, it is up for interpretation. And alteration. This version isn't a huge departure from the original. We have seasoned and seared chicken instead of shrimp, dropped the potatoes, played with the ratios a bit, but you still get that excellent flavor. I've also made this with homemade harissa instead of the Thai chili paste, though you can certainly use Thai chili paste, which is more traditional.
This is why it is convenient to have not only a lot of seasonings in your pantry, but some form of a chili paste in your fridge. I can make a big batch of harissa or Thai chili paste or maybe an ancho paste over the weekend and have it available for at least another week or 2. It is ever-ready to swirl into a simmering stew or a soup, a huge pot of chili, pretty much anything stewing that requires a flavor blast. Believe me, a good chili paste will add complexity to your dishes. You can also make this Massaman Chicken recipe ahead, especially in larger batches, without the noodles and keep it for a few days in the refrigerator. When you want a quick meal with the leftovers, just heat it up, toss it with some fresh noodles, squeeze a little lime juice in and you are good to go.
- 1 tablespoon chili oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1-2 Serrano chili peppers, chopped
- 1-2 Thai chili peppers, chopped
- 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 pound chicken breast, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons spicy chili powder
- 1 tablespoon Massaman chili paste
- 6 ounces Belgian style wheat beer
- 1 13-ounce can coconut milk
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 cups broad egg noodles
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- Juice from 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- Chopped cilantro for topping
- Heat a large pan or wok to medium heat and add chili oil.
- Add onions and peppers and cook 5-6 minutes, or until everything is cooked through. Set peppers and onions aside.
- Add chicken and sprinkle with salt, pepper and chili powder. Cook about 5-6 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Set chicken aside with pepper-onion mixture.
- When chicken has cooled, chop it up to bite-sized pieces.
- To the hot pan, add chili paste and cook about 3 minutes.
- Add beer and bring to a boil. Allow to reduce by about half.
- Add coconut milk, chicken broth and noodles. Stir. Cook about 10 minutes, or until noodles absorb the liquids and get nice and soft to your preference.
- Return peppers, onions and chicken to the pan and stir. Heat to warm everything together.
- Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in brown sugar, lime juice and fish sauce.
- Serve to bowls and top with cilantro.