Penang Chicken Curry and…I’m on a Stretcher

I haven’t exercised since last year.  Not entirely my fault.  I like to go to swim squads at my local pool but towards the end of last year they closed the facility for renovations.  Then came the school holidays but they don’t run the program at that time so I had another forced absence.  But, a few weeks ago it was back to business.

Penang Chicken Curry

And a few weeks ago I was highly motivated and I put my swimsuit on and grabbed my swimming bag only to find my goggles were missing.  As every swimmer will tell you, your very own goggles are as precious as diamonds and they do not sit in a community basket for anyone to use.  I had a bit of a tantrum and accused every member of the family of taking them.

They all denied it.  Hardly surprising.  Especially as this morning I found them and they were exactly where I last left them.

I headed off to the pool but I was a bit nervous because I knew, having done NOTHING for months,  it would be a punishing 60 minutes.  But, I had a strategy.  I would hide down the back of the pack and just cruise along at a snail’s pace and let all of the coach’s energy and focus be on the keen-beans up the front.

Essential Thai Cooking Ingredients

But there was no where to hide because there weren’t any keen-beans.  I stood on the pool deck and looked all around and it was just me and the coach.  Nobody else turned up.  What were the odds?  And he said,  ‘Jump in and give me 500’, before I even had time to mention my sliding level of fitness.

After the first 500 metres there was more and more and more.  He had the stop-watch out, he had my name on the white-board and he was writing my times beside my name.  Every time I reached the end of the pool he said, ‘Go again, head down, streamline off the wall, don’t stop, GO’.

I was puce when I dragged my body out of the pool.

And the coach said, ‘Thanks for coming, Charlie, it was a slow set but a good set’.

‘Slow set’?  He can’t be serious.

I’m going to need a meal high in protein.  Fortunately, I have a kilo of organic chicken thigh fillets in the fridge so I’m  making Penang Chicken Curry.  I would normally make my own curry paste but as I can barely lift my arms, I’m taking a few shortcuts.

Penang Chicken Curry

Dinner’s Ready!

Serves:  4

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  Not too expensive if you use vegetables in season and buy your chicken on special like I did.

  • 2 cups coconut cream
  • 3 tbspns red curry paste
  • 2 tbspns fish sauce
  • 2 tbspns palm sugar (or brown sugar if you can’t find palm)
  • 1kg chicken thigh fillets trimmed and sliced
  • 2 large red chillies, halved and de-seeded
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves
  • 200g sliced green beans
  • 1 small tin of bamboo shoots, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup roasted, crushed peanuts
  • 1 bunch of Thai basil, leaves only
  • 1/2 cup seedless red grapes, halved

Skim off half a cup of coconut cream and boil in wok until starting to separate.

Add the red curry paste and fry for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add fish sauce and palm sugar and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Add remaining coconut cream and chicken thighs and simmer until chicken is cooked, about 15 minutes

Add chillies, lime leaves, green beans and bamboo shoots and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Stir through basil and grapes.

Serve with steamed Jasmine rice.

Penang Chicken Curry with Green Beans and Red Grapes

This recipe has been adapted from Travels with Thai Food

And no, Carl didn’t forget Valentine’s Day.  He came up with the goods.  Happy Valentine’s Day to you all.  I will drink to your health!

It must be ‘Wine O’Clock’!

Have you ever ended up nearly dead after a work-out?

Want to keep in touch?  Let’s be friends on Facie!







  1. Hahahaha i don’t even want to think about the gym 😛 It’s been way too long so congrats for going back to the swimming pool! It takes time to ease back in exercising but once you get the hang of it you’ll be fine 🙂 Keep up the great work~

    And to answer your question ahhaha I always feel like I’m dead after a work out, and if i don’t feel dead…i probably didn’t work very hard 😛

    Btw that penang chicken curry looks great and I agree those 3 ingredients are definitely crucial for cooking thai 🙂

  2. Oh a bottle of Moet – PERFECT way to settle those frazzled nerves and aching body after your swimming session!
    Fantastic recipe too!
    🙂 Mandy

  3. I was a physie girl growing up; I was a part of the Bjelke-Petersen School of Physical Culture. I stopped for a few years after school, but decided to go back to the ladies class a few years ago. After an hour and a half of good posture, pointy toes, and contorting my body into numerous unnatural positions, I actually felt OK. It wasn’t until the next day that my body rebelled and decided that standing upright and walking were overrated. I should have downed a bottle of Moet; that would have definitely eased the aches and pains 🙂

  4. He he he….love the post. Keep up that swimming.

    Penang chicken is my absolute favourite Thai curry so I must admit I was a bit busy drooling at these pictures!

  5. But wait… isn’t Penang in Malaysia? Dish looks awesome nevertheless – I will be giving this one a go!

    Happy Valentine’s Day 🙂

  6. this sounds like ideal insane-o workout recovery food! That sounds seriously intense though…I would NOT want any coach’s attention to be all on me.

  7. I wouldn’t know if I was dead after a workout or not; I avoid them. I have to keep this figure, after all. The chicken looks great, as does that box. I think that I am going to drink to my own health tonight. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours.

  8. Good for you to drag yourself to the pool! And also some good-for-you food. The chicken looks so healthy with the beans and the grapes.

  9. LOL … and good luck with future workouts … but I loved the surprise ending of the bubbly. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  10. Charlie, you have made me feel so guilty. I should start exercising, otherwise there will be a big shock when I wear the light Spring clothes…
    I love Thai curry and use the same brand 🙂 Your curry looks delicious and the peanuts addition is an excellent idea!

  11. I know exactly what you mean Charlie; a couple of years ago I started Power Plate which is a crazy workout, the next day I could barely walk…it even hurt to laugh. Because my shoulder has been severely troubling me and now my knee, I haven’t hit the gym for a while, and I am surely feeling it. Getting old sucks.
    Gorgeous dinner…love the flavours! Happy Valentine’s Day to you too. Nice little bubbly from Carl.

  12. This post is reminding me I have to go to the gym today…. Thanks for reminding me! (not)

    The recipe sounds great though!

  13. Panang chicken curry is one of my favorite dishes of all time. I’ve never had it with grapes but is sounds like it would be delicious. Happy Valentine’s Day. Enjoy the Moet!

  14. Work-out?
    What’s that :p I’m not in the best shape to be honest – Sometimes when I carry lots of shopping bags up the stairs to our apartment, the next day it feels like I got hit by a bus :p

  15. By the end of the work day, I can barely put one foot in front of the other so the thought of exercise … not happening Charlie. 🙂

    Tasty looking curry though.

  16. Oh I know how you feel! I’ve been off injured for months, and after a nasty surgery hae been very idle indeed! I’m just easing back into walking an hour a day now, but swimming is out for at least a year. Hydro therapy is as close as I get, and all I do there is drag my arms through the water like seaweed.
    I hope you get some extras for squad next week, the coach might let you off a bit easier!

  17. Champagne on any day is better than roses.

  18. Oh Charlie the thought of that makes me feel sick, you poor thing! At least it can really only get easier.

    I most definitely would have come home and treated myself to a delicious meal. You deserved it!

  19. Fun post. And I can almost taste that lovely Panang-style curry–one of my favorites. Yum.

  20. I can sympathize. That first trip back to the gym, pool, or track can be daunting, almost as bad as making that 2nd trip to the dessert table. Your curry, though, could make everything better. Yum!

    • hotlyspiced says:

      I love you sense of humour John. You are too funny. Yes, it sometimes is such an effort, but well-earned effort, to make that second trip to the dessert trolley!

  21. Oh darling that nasty little man, i shall go down there and have a few words with him, working our charlie that hard.. poor you.. c

  22. Oh you poor poppet! And re finding things where you last left them, at times I’ve sworn I’ve looked exactly where an item lay and haven’t seen it only for it to appear a minute or two later! 😛

  23. Absolutely. Right after my first spinning class. Jebus, that was exhausting.

  24. I feel sick just thinking about doing half of what you did! You must be a natural swimmer, I’m a natural drowner. Good for you to stick it out and finish! Now go eat some protein before you waste away!! Or go drink that champagne to ease those sore muscles!! xo Smidge

  25. The food looks great, and was well earned, by all accounts! I’m really impressed. Nice to discover your blog, and I’ve just signed up.

  26. ooohh… i might try that one day=)

  27. I wish there was a gym or a pool near where we live — it’s a long drive!!

    Penang curries are my favorite dish! I hail from Malaysia and Penang is one of it’s metropolitan. You did a great job with this recipe. I am intrigued with the use of grapes. Very creative 🙂


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