These Red Curry Chicken Drumsticks come together in a hurry using a bottled red curry paste. Not everything needs to be from scratch! But go ahead and doctor up that curry paste with lime juice and honey to take it up a few levels and ensure piquant, sticky chicken deliciousness … just the thing for dining outdoors when the summer living is easy.
And Then, It Happened
I admit it: much as I love cooking, I often find it hard to get motivated to cook for one. Yes, I often make family-sized batches of soups or stews and put meals in the freezer, but everyday meals are more of a challenge for me. Fortunately, I like to eat eggs. I eat a lot of eggs.
Today, I found myself daydreaming about chicken … sticky chicken drumsticks with a piquant glaze. While mentally reviewing which restaurants might be able to satisfy this craving, suddenly, it happened: inspiration struck and a new recipe started to unfold in my mind. I was excited to stop at the grocery store to pick up what I needed to turn this daydream into reality.
I also couldn’t wait to photograph the dish and write about it. It’s been a long time since I felt such zeal to cook and immediately blog, and I’m grateful to enjoy that passion again.
All that said, I’m going to keep this short (whatever that means around here) so I can get this post up this evening.
Red Curry Chicken Drumsticks
This dish came together pretty much as I imagined it. I made it using Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste (this isn’t a sponsored post; I’m just letting you know what I used). Yes, I could make a curry paste, but the small amount I needed wouldn’t justify all the ingredients I’d have to buy to do so, not to mention the time and effort. Sometimes modern scratch living, this blog’s tagline, means knowing when not to make something from scratch!
The first thing I did was taste the curry paste. It sounds simple, but I think it’s a step a lot of people miss. Treat commercial condiments as a base and then doctor them up to suit your taste. I added lime juice for extra zing and to loosen up the paste, as well as honey to help create that sticky chicken goodness with a hint of sweetness. And by the way, when I ream a lime for juice, I also throw in the pulp — why let any of that goodness go to waste?
Adding some diced onion to the pan is always a good thing … the fragrance of frying onions is a beautiful thing, in my ever so humble opinion, and their flavour is always welcome around here.
By the way, I chose to leave the skin on the chicken (gasp), but you don’t have to. Even I don’t always follow my recipes exactly — I customize them to meet the dictates of the pantry and whims of my taste.
A Word About Food Safety
It’s important, dear reader, that you educate yourself about food safety. An experienced cook may know when chicken is safely cooked (the juices run clear). But even I, after all these years in the kitchen, still get out my trusty food thermometer to confirm it’s at the proper temperature. Why chance the illness that undercooked poultry can cause?
The Ontario government’s food safety webpage tells us that poultry pieces are safely cooked at 165°F (74°C). The drumsticks you see here were in the 170s by the time I removed them from the oven, and they were still moist and flavourful.
Let’s Make Chicken!
These chicken drumsticks have a spicy, sweet and sticky glaze. If I were going to use only one herb as a garnish for this recipe, it would be cilantro. I recommend parsley if you don't like cilantro. But since I have a burgeoning herb garden outside the kitchen door I helped myself to a selection!
- 1-1/3 tbsp red curry paste (4 tsp; I used the Thai Kitchen brand)
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1-1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- a few grinds freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
- 5 chicken drumsticks, skin on (or skinless)
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- pinch or two kosher salt
- chopped herbs, optional (I used cilantro, sage, thyme and parsley)
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
Taste the chili paste, then add the honey and lime juice. Stir well, taste and adjust the honey and lime to suit your taste. Grate in some black pepper. Set aside.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium to medium high heat and add the coconut oil. Saute the drumsticks for about five minutes each side to get them nicely browned. Turn off the heat. Remove the drumsticks to a plate and then careully pour chicken fat out of the pan. Add the diced onion to the still-hot skillet and stir them a bit. Return the chicken to the pan and pour the chili sauce over top. Sprinkle on the kosher salt.
Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, then turn the chicken and roast for a further 15 to 20 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. If necessary, continue to roast the chicken until it reaches at least 165°F (74°C). You may need to add a bit of water to the pan if if looks like the sauce might burn. (What's a bit? Maybe a couple of tablespoons or so.)
Garnish the chicken with the chopped herbs and serve. Prepare to receive compliments with grace. (Oh, this old recipe? Why, thank you!)
Note that I made this chicken in a cast iron skillet. You may need to adjust the time for other types of cookware.
Still in the Mood for Chicken?
If this recipe has you in the mood for a chicken marathon, here are three other recipes to enjoy. Chicken, Tomatoes & Cannellini Beans is a quick and easy, family-friendly dish. Chicken with Sumac, Za’atar and Lemon explores the Middle Eastern flavour profile. And, Pomegranate Molasses-Glazed Chicken Thighs are another sticky chicken delight.