I love curries, especially Southeast Asian curries, but usually there are so many ingredients to buy that I find the recipes too intimidating (or impractical) to make at home. I've seen ready-made curry pastes in the asian groceries and some of the larger chain groceries, but I never know which brand to try so when I saw a canned curry/simmering sauce in my local asian market, I thought I'd give it a try.
The brand is Best Spoon Red Curry (Gaeng Ped). It was $1.39 for a 13.5 ounce can), and the ingredients listed were: Red chili, garlic, salt, onion, coconut milk, water. No preservative or MSG. It's meant to be used full-strength as a simmering sauce. And only 70 calories and 2g of carbs for the whole can.
It tastes like there's lemongrass in there too, but it's not listed on the can. I've noticed before with other canned products imported from Thailand that spices sometimes seem to be missing from the ingredient label. In the USA spices don't have to be listed specifically, but usually "spices" or "flavorings" is listed as an ingredient on the can. If you're allergic to any spices, that's something to be aware of.
In my crockpot I poured in the curry and a can of water and a bouillon cube (I think I probably could have just used the can of curry but I wanted to dilute it a bit). I put in 4 chicken thighs ($1.14 per pound - about 2 lbs), that I had cut each in 3 pieces (paralell to the bone), and a sliced onion (the can instructions were to "just add meat" simmering the chicken in the soup/sauce (it didn't call for a specific amount of meat).
The crock is sitting in my fridge now, and I'll start it tomorrow morning. Right before serving I'll add half a bag of frozen cauliflower or mixed veggies (between 79 and 99 cents for the whole bag at Aldi's), and I'll make some rice.
We should be able to get about 4 meals out of it.
It smells amazing (and I tasted the canned sauce before I cut up the chicken, it was pretty good - a little spicy for hubby's tastes which is why I diluted it with broth).
If we like it, I'll probably buy a jar of red curry paste, because it will be much cheaper in the long run to use the curry paste and canned coconut milk than to buy the canned sauce. On the other hand, if it's something I don't plan on making more than a couple times a year, then the canned isn't a bad way to go.
I've seen similar products in large chain grocery stores, but they were quite a bit more expensive than in the Asian groceries. Not that $2 a can is terrible. Still if you have a local Asian grocery store, you might want to check there first.
I couldn't wait to share. Because it smelled so good in the can, I'm pretty confident that the finished dish will turn out wonderful, but I'll let you know after it's truly passed the taste test.
Oh - and I forgot to say I added a tablespoon of chunky natural peanut butter.