Curry Powder and Coconut Milk

Brrrrrr!!!  Hope everyone is bundled up for the weekend!  I just came in from feeding the puppy and tucking in our flowers for the night and nearly froze to death.  We had big plans to head to Galveston for the weekend, but may have to set those aside.  It’s probably a better weekend to stay in, make something warm, and cuddle up on the couch.  Below are a couple of outtakes from our week that would be pretty great for a cold-weather dinner at home this weekend.  The first, Curried Mussels with Mustard Roasted Potatoes, comes from the last stretch of our Food Lover’s Cleanse.  And the second, Butternut Squash and Roast Chicken Curry, was inspired by a recipe I found in John Besh’s, My Family Table.  The goal of his book is to get people back to the dinner table by sharing some simplified takes on family classics.  What’s great is a lot of the recipes are presented as methods, encouraging you to use what’s in season and on hand to make them your own.  I hadn’t really worked too much with curry powder and coconut milk before, but after this week, they’re likely to become staples around here.  Mixed in with a little heat and a little lemon juice, they’re a pretty amazing combination.


The recipes do require a short trip down the international aisle at the grocery store.  At Central Market, the canned coconut milk, Madras curry powder and Sambal chili paste were all right together with the rest of the Asian ingredients. Madras curry powder is apparently a spicier version of regular curry powder.  It’s also a bit richer in color due to the addition of ground chilis to the spice mix.  I’m sure either would be good, but I took a shot of the one we found in case you want to seek out the real deal.  The Sambal chili paste is made by the same company that makes Sriracha, and according to John Besh, necessary for a well-stocked pantry.  Coconut milk comes in both light and full-fat versions.  We opted for the latter, and I’m a little addicted, so be forewarned!


 Curried Mussels and Mustard-Roasted Potatoes (Adapted from Bon Appetit)

For the mussels:
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large leeks, white and light green part only, thinly sliced, rinsed, drained
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 pounds mussels
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 cups water or low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves minced, plus a few whole to garnish
Lemon wedges for serving

Clean and scrub the mussels, discarding any that are cracked or open.  Remove the beards using a clean kitchen towel.  In a heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Saute the leeks until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Add in the garlic and the curry powder and saute for another minute or so until fragrant.  Add the wine, and allow to reduce by half before adding in the mussels, coconut milk and water (or chicken stock if using).  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes until the mussels have all opened up (discard any that fail to open).  Taste the broth and adjust seasoning to taste.  Serve in bowls with a sprinkling of cilantro on top and a lemon wedge or two on the side.  The lemon juice really makes a difference in the flavor of the broth, so don’t skip this part.

For the potatoes:
2 cups Dutch yellow pee wee potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 shallot, diced
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
3 to 4 fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.  Rinse the potatoes and cut any large ones in half so they’re all similar in size.  Place in a medium-sized, oven-proof saute pan, cover with salted water, and boil until tender.  Drain and crush each with your palm or the back of a wooden spoon.  Place the pan back on the stove, add in the olive oil and saute the shallot for a few minutes.  Add in the potatoes and the mustard and toss to coat.  Remove from the fire, add in the sage leaves, and place the pan in the oven for about 20 minutes, turning once or twice until they’re all brown and crispy.   Serve alongside mussels or really anything.  They’re delicious.


 Butternut Squash and Roast Chicken Curry (Adapted from My Family Table)

1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 bone-in chicken breasts
About 2 cups cubed butternut squash
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Sambal chili paste
1 cup short-grain brown rice

Pre-heat the oven to 425.  Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes until an internal thermometer reads 165 degrees.  Once cooked, cube or shred into bite sized pieces.  John Besh suggests that you use leftover roast chicken, so if you have that on hand, that would be great too.

In a small pot, bring 1 cup of the coconut milk and 1 cup of water to a boil.  Add in the brown rice, season, reduce to a simmer and cover.  The rice will take about 45 minutes to cook depending on the variety used.

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil and the butter over medium-high heat and add in the butternut squash.  Saute until browned on the edges, and softened a bit, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Add in the leeks and continue to cook until softened.  Add in the ginger, garlic, and curry powder, and saute for a minute more.  Squeeze the lemon over the pot, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the ban.  Add in the coconut milk, chicken broth, and chili paste and bring to a boil.  Taste and adjust seasonings, adding in more curry powder or chili powder to taste.  Add in the cooked chicken and simmer for about another 15 minutes.

Serve curry over the brown rice and garnish with a little fresh parsley.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.  Stay warm!!

One thought on “Curry Powder and Coconut Milk

  1. All these dishes look delicious and fun to try. The mussels look amazing and the potatoes are a must try! Guess I will be heading down the Asian isle next time I’m at the store.

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