Kevin texted me on the plane to let me know that he wasn’t feeling great, and was ordering takeout for dinner, did I want anything to be there when I got home? Thai green curry chicken and steamed shumai, please, two of my favorite comfort foods.
Do you get into this situation with takeout food, though, where you’ve eaten all the protein out of it, and there’s still a lot of sauce and vegetables left?
When I get to this point, which happens a lot, what I end up doing is opening a fresh packet of chicken thighs, cutting them up and sautéing them in a bit of oil, then adding the restaurant leftovers to that and simmering for a bit until the chicken is cooked through and the flavors are well blended, adding more water / coconut milk if needed. This is also a good chance to adjust seasonings — sometimes the restaurant curries are a little too sweet for my taste, or not spicy enough.
You could do the same with steak, or ground meat, seitan, cooked chickpeas, nuts, etc. Any kind of protein-y thing. You could also add vegetables, of course — I’ll be adding both chicken thighs and bamboo shoots to this, and a bit of salt. If you have some veggies lying around that are starting to get shriveled, feel free to toss those in too — I added asparagus and scallions here. For Asian curries and the like, a little acid is often a great addition to refresh the dish — a squeeze of lime goes a long way!
Of course, if you end up tripling the volume of ‘stuff’ in the sauce, you might end up having to add another can of green curry paste and another can of coconut milk to get the right ratio of sauce to chicken and veggies. But hey, that just means it lasts a little longer.
It’s cooking, but it’s relatively easy cooking, and gets to nice flavors quickly. And it lets you stretch the pleasure of restaurant food for a few more meals — I usually get three more out of this. This would be a great practice for a beginner cook, actually, so they don’t have to take on a full new recipe to start.