Pheasant Thai Curry is on a monthly rotation at my house, in fact, coconut cream and red curry paste can always be found in my pantry. This dish is both hearty and warming, making it perfect for the cooler fall weather.
One reason why I love Thai cuisine so much is because it’s bursting with flavor; you get spicy, savory, sweet, sour and salty all in one bite! This might sound overwhelming, but each ingredient adds a unique layer of texture and taste. When combined all together they create perfect balance.
“Mise En Place”
Everything in its place
Because this recipe is ingredient-heavy, I can’t stress enough how important prep work is. Once you get going, things happen fast and you’ll need to add everything to the pan quickly without letting it burn. Pre-wash, pre-chop and pre-measure all the ingredients and have them ready to go before you start cooking (I know you already do this for every recipe…right!?)
I am easily inspired by produce when grocery shopping. During my last trip I couldn’t resist the baby bok choy, but if you can’t find it or don’t like it, feel free to substitute with another veggie such as snow peas.
I have made countless variations of Thai Curry and have tried a lot of different ways of cooking the pheasant. The rule of thumb I have found to be most successful when cooking game is to either cook it “Hot and Fast” or “Low and Slow”. For this reason, my recipe calls for browning sliced pheasant breasts and then removing them from the pan. After the curry has simmered into a rich sauce, then you’ll add the pheasant back in during the last few minutes to gently poach in the liquids until just barely cooked through. The result is tender meat infused with a flavorful coconut curry and served on a bed of jasmine rice.
A lot of traditional Thai ingredients can be very hard to find and the curry paste is usually made by hand. For convenience, I have given substitutions. I don’t think the curry paste is quite as flavorful when its pre-made, which is why I include a lot of aromatics and extra chilies in the recipe.
I always top the curry with lots of fresh basil (Thai Basil if you can find it) and cilantro. Don’t skip this, I can assure you the herbs are much more than just a garnishment. Basil and cilantro are cooling agents and help to counterbalance the heat… an ice cold beer also helps!
- 4 Pheasant Breasts, sliced
- Coconut Oil for cooking
- 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
- 2-3 Serranos or 1-2 Birds Eye Chilis, minced *
- 1 T. of minced Lemongrass (Optional)
- 2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
- 1 T. of minced Ginger
- 1 Lime, Juiced
- 2 Cans of Full Fat Coconut Milk
- 2 T. Fish Sauce (substitute with Soy Sauce)
- 4 T. Red Curry Paste
- 2 T. Palm or Coconut Sugar (substitute with Brown Sugar)
- 2 T. Golden Raisins
- 2 Carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼" rounds
- ½ of a Red Bell Pepper, Julienned into ¼" matchsticks
- 2 Baby Bok Choys
- 2 C. of cooked Jasmine Rice
- Fresh Basil and Fresh Cilantro for Garnish
- Chop and measure out all of the ingredients before starting the cooking process. If you are using lemongrass, you can release the oils by hitting it with the back of a knife. Remove the woody outer layer and thinly slice or mince the lemongrass. Prepare the baby bok choy by thinly slicing the stems and roughly chopping the leaves into big pieces.
- In a large Dutch Oven or pot, heat a tablespoon of coconut oil over high heat. Once hot, add the sliced pheasant and brown (working in batches so that you don't over-crowd the pan). Remove the pheasant and set aside on a plate.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add an additional Tablespoon of oil to the pan and stir in the shallots. Cook for a couple of minutes until they start to soften. Add the lemongrass, ginger and chilis. Cook for an additional minute and add the garlic. Once fragrant, deglaze the pan with fish sauce, lime juice and coconut milk. Stir and scrap up any bits on the bottom. Whisk in the curry paste and sugar. Add the carrots, red bell pepper and golden raisins.
- Turn the heat to low so that the curry gently simmers. Let the curry cook and reduce for about 30 minutes to reduce and intensify in flavor.
- In the last few minutes of cooking, add the pheasant back to the pot along with the baby bok choy. Be careful that you don't over-cook the pheasant or let the bok choy get too wilted.
- Serve over jasmine rice and garnish with fresh basil and cilantro.