Multi-Cultural Shortcut Chicken (of the woods) Curry

A lot of wild mushrooms have delicate flavors that are easily overwhelmed. And a lot of them are typically found in small numbers or purchased in even smaller ones (except by the possessors of large dollars). As a result, a lot of wild  mushroom recipes have what might be called a reverential attitude about the signature ingredient.

Nothing wrong with that – except that it tends to carry over where it isn’t essential, as in the case of sulfur shelf, Laetiporus sulphureus, aka chicken of the woods. When you find that, you generally find many pounds, plenty enough to play around with.

This curry is an example. The mushroom flavor is only one among several but it's one that would be sorely missed if it were absent.

This curry is an example. The mushroom flavor is only one among several, but it's one that would be sorely missed if it were absent. The rice happens to have red peppers, gold raisins and pistachios. Just plain would be just as good or better.

I put “of the woods” in parentheses because I’m sure the curry would be good – albeit not this good –  with genuine chicken. The shortcut is prepared spice mixtures and the multi is Indian and Thai. Cooking the mushroom in coconut milk without a preliminary saute is what brings out the reds and pinks.

Multi-Cultural Shortcut Chicken (of the woods) Curry

For 4 servings ( it’s rich):

1 tablespoon corn oil

1 large onion, in 1/4 inch dice

roughly 3/4 inch square chunk of peeled ginger

1 very large or 2 medium cloves of garlic

1 teaspoon Madras curry powder

2 teaspoons Thai green curry paste

10 ounces sulfur shelf, sliced into thin strips – exact shape doesn’t matter, just be sure they’re not more than 1/3 inch thick or they may not cook through.

1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk

1 lime, cut into large wedges

1. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion, turn the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is well wilted and just starting to turn gold.

2. Shred in the ginger and garlic through the small holes of a grater. Keep cooking and stirring until they’re softened, then stir in the curry powder. Cook that for about half a minute then stir in the curry paste.

3. Give it another half minute or so, then add the coconut milk and mushrooms. Cover and cook over very low heat until the mushroom pieces are well and truly cooked, about 45 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt.

4. Serve over rice, with the lime wedges on the side. They are not for decor; the curry will be too sweet if you don’t squeeze in some lime juice.

Confetti rice just in case you’re curious – ours was leftover and it is not part of the recipe. Good though.

Cook the rice. Stir in sweet red pepper in tiny dice, pistachio nuts, golden raisins – only a few! – and the flesh of a lemon, cut into small dice.

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