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 sweet potatoes, potatoes, parsnips, carrots or eggplant (cut into larger, 1 inch chunks).
Cook on high pressure for 7 minutes -(thighs will need 9 minutes) Let it naturally release 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!
If using breasts in the Instant Pot, letting the chicken “re-absorb” the flavorful sauce will help the chicken breast to not be dry – the best way to do this is naturally release pressure ( slow release) and let the chicken sit on warm setting for a while. It will plump back up! Leftovers are especially good! Think of pressure cooking as squeezing the moisture out of what you are cooking, like squeezing a sponge. Things like chicken breast will need a little time to re-absorb the sauce to not only for flavor, but for moisture.
THIGHS: cook chicken thighs pressure cook for 9 minutes.
STOVE TOP : If cooking on the stove top, 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 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, 5-10 minutes. Season with the fish sauce, sugar and lime juice. Adjust salt. Add more curry paste if you like! Find the 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 flavorful!
STOVE TOP: A note on veggies – if cooking bigger chucks of “longer cooking” veggies,(carrots, potatoes) you may want to “steam” them a bit first. Right after you add the curry paste, add a ½-1 cup of water, and add your veggies, cover and steam, for a few minutes, until fork tender or al dente), uncover, cook a couple more minutes letting most of the water evaporate, then add the coconut milk and continue with recipe. Hopefully this makes sense. Not all veggies cook in the same about of time, so just think about this. 😉
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