You don't have to save fun, festive, and ethnic meals for the weekend. Instead, spice up a weeknight with quick fix versions like this Asian inspired basil chicken curry. Packed with full flavors, tonight's dish is a balanced meal that's both exotic and delicious. Chicken cutlets are cooked in a tasty coconut curry sauce and then piled on a pillow of coconut basmati rice. Peanuts add a much needed salty crunch, while sliced avocado and mango make a fragrant, fresh, and fruity finish. Want the recipe? All you have to do is

Basil Chicken Curry with Coconut Rice
From Food & Wine magazine
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1 1/2 cups basmati rice
2 1/4 cups water
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 3-by-1/2-inch strips
Freshly ground pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
One 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
1 1/2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped basil leaves
3 tablespoons minced cilantro
3 scallions, white and light green parts only, cut into 2-inch lengths
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts
Sliced avocado and mango, for serving

  1. In a saucepan, bring the rice, water, canola oil and a pinch of salt to a boil; cover. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, toast the coconut over moderately low heat, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add 1 tablespoon of the ginger and cook over moderately high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Add the onion and the remaining 1 tablespoon of ginger; cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the coconut milk, stock and curry paste and bring to a boil, stirring. Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes, until thickened.
  5. Add the chicken, 1/3 cup of the basil, 2 tablespoons of the cilantro and the scallions; simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Transfer the rice to a bowl; sprinkle with the coconut. Transfer the chicken to another bowl. Garnish with the remaining 2 tablespoons of basil, 1 tablespoon of cilantro and the peanuts. Serve the avocado and mango on the side.

Serves 4.