Set your grain to cook on the stove. Quinoa is fastest!
Set Instant Pot to saute function. ( Alternatively, you can cook this all on the stove in a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven. See notes!) Heat oil and add shallot, ginger and garlic, and saute until fragrant and golden, about 2-3 minutes. Add chicken, stir, and just give a quick sear, just 2-3 minutes. Add red curry paste ( I like about 3 tablespoons for medium spicy), cook one minute, then add coconut milk, chicken bouillon cube, fish sauce, brown sugar and optional kefir lime leaves. Give a stir to combine. At this point, add any veggies that need longer cooking– like potatoes, parsnips, carrots, cauliflower (cut into larger, 1 inch chunks).
Pressure Cook breasts on high pressure for 6 minutes (thighs will need 9 minutes). Manually release, open lid and set back to saute function. Simmer sauce down a bit to reduce it, and add any quick-cooking veggies- snow peas, bell peppers, asparagus and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until veggies are just tender, yet still bright and snappy.
Add lime juice. Taste, adjust salt and heat (add more curry paste for more spicy).
Serve over your grain, topping with fresh basil, lime wedge and bean sprouts!
STOVE TOP: If cooking on the stovetop, season chicken with salt and pepper and sear in oil, in a heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven, over medium heat, until most sides are golden (they will finish cooking in a later step). Set aside. In the same pot, add more oil if necessary, saute the shallot, garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the red curry paste (starting light, you can always add more) and fry 1 minute. Add the coconut milk and bouillon cube.
Add your slow cooking veggies and chicken back into the pot, along with the kefir lime leaves. Cover and simmer on low until veggies are tender and chicken is cooked through 7-10 minutes. Add quick-cooking veggies. Season with the fish sauce, sugar and lime juice. Adjust salt. Add more curry paste if you like! Find a happy balance. It may smell fishy initially, but it will dissipate, and you won’t taste it when the right balance is there. Also, keep in mind, the saltiness will mellow substantially when served over the rice. You want this slightly salty and flavorful!
VEGGIES: Not all veggies cook in the same about of time, so just be intentional about when to add. For example potatoes and carrots cook slower, so allow them to pressure cook with the chicken. Cut them a little bigger if using thighs ( longer pressure cooking time). Quick-cooking veggies like Snap peas, asparagus, bell pepper can cook within minutes, so add at these end during saute function, after the chicken has pressure cooked. FYI: Sweet potatoes will disintegrate if overcooked- not pleasant. I like to roast these separately (and roast them ahead) and add at the end of cooking. Roasting gives them better texture in stewy recipes I find. 🙂
Take time here to think about which veggies need longer cooking and what needs shorter. This is only challenging part of this recipe. 🙂
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