First, credit where due: The original recipe for Cambodian chicken & pineapple stew came from Jillie69, posting on Allrecipes.com. Since I do not measure and can’t leave anything well enough alone, I have modified it. My version follows:
After retrieving them from school, drop the kids at the house with instructions to attend to their chores while you are at the store.
Head straight to the store with your nicely organized list. In the produce section: Grab one bunch of green onions, a handful of jalapenos and a ginger root. Hmm. What if your daughter doesn’t want the stew? Add a salad backup.
Meats: Boneless chicken breast. You’ll need two for the stew but you may as well get the big family pack because god knows, you go through it and the price is better in bulk.
In the “Ethnic Foods” aisle: Wait. Was that the cereal aisle? The kids have been complaining about the cereal choices at home. Pick up a new box of something. Now that you’re thinking of it, is there going to be enough milk for the cereal? Probably not; grab a gallon.
Oh, pet food. Right, the cat is down to a single can of food and you don’t want to have to run out in the morning so you’d better get some more of that, as well.
Where were you? Ethnic foods. Two cans of coconut milk, Thai red curry paste, curry powder, Thai fish sauce. Crap, they haven’t got that. Over in pasta and sauces, pick up a can of anchovies to substitute.
Canned fruits: A can of pineapple tidbits. Oh, the little fruit cups are on sale. Add a few of those for kids’ lunches. Wait; weren’t pears on sale too? Back to produce for fresh pears. Now back to canned fruits to return the fruit cups still in your cart.
Okay, assuming there’s still some vinegar, sugar and chicken broth at home, you should be all set.
At home, honk the horn to alert the children that you need help carrying in groceries. When no response is forthcoming, carry them in yourself.
Observe that the TV is on, the carpet un-vaccuumed, the trash baskets full, and the dogs about to explode. Do not stop to holler as you now have only 18 minutes to prepare the soup before dance classes; holler over your shoulder and keep moving.
In the kitchen, drop everything on the table. Heat a skillet with a tablespoon of oil over a high flame while you cut 2 chicken breasts into chunks.
Make 2 cups of white rice, however you usually do that.
Toss the chicken into the skillet and don’t panic about the 18 inch flames, because they’ll burn themselves out and fortunately, your son didn’t see them. Don’t overcook the chicken; it will continue to cook even after it’s off the stove so leave it a tiny bit pink.
Chop up 2 jalapenos. No, three. Wait. No, your daughter won’t eat it that hot. Fish some of it back out. Okay, 2 jalapenos, 2 to 3 garlic cloves, a tablespoon of peeled ginger roo
GET THE DAMN CHICKEN OFF THE STOVE!Put the chicken on a paper plate and put the chopped stuff in the skillet.
Check the time.
Saute the chile and garlic stuff ‘till it’s soft. Put it into a blender along with both cans of coconut milk, 2 cups of chicken broth, a tablespoon each of vinegar - who cares what kind? It’s vinegar - and fish sauce (or a wee can of anchovies). Add at least 2 tablespoons of red curry paste and about half as much curry powder. Add a couple of teaspoons of sugar. Blend the crap out of it. Yell over the blender to your child to put on dance clothes and shoes.
Pour the blended stock into the rice pot. Add the chicken. Drain the pineapple tidbits and add them. Stir and leave it all on the stove while you go break up a fight in the other room. By the time that’s done, the stew will have thickened nicely.
Serve with chopped green onions as a garnish....you didn’t chop any green onions? Serve it without the damn things, it’ll still be the best thing you ever ate.