Slow-Cooker Chicken and Coconut Curry

February 4, 2015

It’s not like I needed proof that there is fuckery in this world–believe me, I know this–but apparently the universe decided that maybe I needed a little reminder, because for the last month or so, the universe has given me the gift of…tinnitus.

Constant. Asshole. Tinnitus.

Ever had tinnitus? Ringing in the ears? For some people who get tinnitus, the ringing comes and goes or fades in and out, but not me. Nope. I have a constant, high-pitched, vibrating wail in my ears and in my head. It’s stronger in my right ear (some people only get a ringing in one ear, those lucky shmucks) but my left ear is in on the action, too.

I am rapidly being driven to the line of complete madness. Pretty soon I’ll be constructing elaborate hats out of tin foil and claiming that I can communicate with aliens.

The problem with tinnitus, besides the fact that your head is buzzing and ringing and throbbing 24 hours a day, is that medical professionals really don’t understand what triggers tinnitus or how to freaking FIX it. It’s sort of a mystery. Sure, they have a few tricks they can try when you’re really desperate and begging for some kind of relief, but that’s really just all they’ve got: tricks. A crapshoot little bag of guesswork that may or may not work.

That is not the news you want to hear when it’s your head that’s doing the constant dueling banjos.

I’ve been trying to minimize the annoyance by playing music in the house or keeping the television on, because I am most bothered by the ringing when it’s just me and the Mozz-man in a quiet house. That helps a little. I also have started wearing headphones and playing music when I take Mozzy for his 55 walks a day.

You think I’m exaggerating. That dog either has the smallest bladder in the universe or I am a giant sucker. Gee, I wonder which one it is?

The thing is, I cannot abide the feeling of earbuds–is it just me? The sensation of having earbuds in my ears makes me feel stabby inside. This was a problem when we were in Italy last spring and took every tour of every museum in the history of museums. Gah, I thought I was going to die.

Since I am earbud challenged, I’ve hi-jacked my husband’s big, puffy, Bose headphones–the kind that look like the old ones in the 1970’s, and I’m wearing those on walks with the Mozzerator.

I look absolutely ridiculous.

Everyone I pass in the neighborhood looks at me like I’m a lunatic, but I don’t care. This is survival, guys.

I don’t know how long this tinnitus is going to last, but Jesus, let it be soon. Because on one of our walks this weekend, Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” came on and I have had it on repeat in my head constantly for days. That has got to be the stickiest song ever.* It’s like Taylor and my tinnitus decided to become BFFs and rent a condo together in my brain.

I’m so miserable and so preoccupied with the noise in my skull that I haven’t had much desire to cook, but I did make a delicious chicken curry in the slow cooker last week. This recipe came from the second slow cooker cookbook I got for Christmas this year…I guess I was going for a theme or something.

This cookbook (also a Williams-Sonoma featured book) is called The New Slow Cooker by Brigit Binns. If the chicken curry recipe is any indication, this book is going to be a winner.

I did increase the amount of curry in the recipe, because I like a strong curry flavor, and I added some chiles for heat, but otherwise, I kept things mostly as written. You’ll notice that this recipe has you take the extra step of browning the chicken on the stove top before adding it to the slow cooker, which helps build a deeper, better flavor. You could skip that step, but if you have time, do it.

Served with hot jasmine or basmati rice, it’s a wonderful treat on a cold (tinnitus-filled) day.

slow cooker chicken coconut curry



Slow-Cooker Chicken and Coconut Curry

serves 4-6

recipe slightly adapted from The New Slow Cooker by Brigit Binns


1/2 red onion, coarsely chopped

6 cloves garlic, peeled

1-2 tablespoons red Thai curry paste (I used 1 tablespoon red and 1 tablespoon green because I ran out of red)

grated zest and juice of 2 limes

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce

salt and freshly ground pepper

5 pounds skinless, bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons canola oil

1 cup chicken stock

1 3/4 cups coconut milk

1/2 lb thin green beans, trimmed a cut into pieces

1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 chopped jalapeno pepper (optional)

1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

1/2 cup basil or mint, torn

steamed jasmine rice

1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped or 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut, toasted


In a food processor or blender, combine the onion, garlic, curry paste, lime juice/zest, the 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a couple of grinds of pepper. Pulse until mixture is a chunky paste. Set aside.

Pat the chicken thighs dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil over medium high heat in a large, heavy skillet. When oil is hot, working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, add the chicken and sear, turning once, for a total of 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to the slow cooker.

Turn the heat of the skillet down to medium. Add the curry paste and saute until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and coconut milk and bring to a simmer.

Pour the coconut mixture over the chicken in the slow cooker. Cook on the low setting for 4 hours. The chicken should be very tender.

Using tons or a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Shred the meat off the bones using tongs or a pair of forks. Discard bones. Return the chicken to the slow cooker.

Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the green beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 3-4 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Stir the beans into the chicken mixture and let heat through about 5 minutes.

In a skillet over medium high heat, warm the 2 teaspoons of canola oil. Add the red pepper strips and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Remove and add to the slow cooker.

Stir the remaining teaspoon Asian fish sauce, the 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, the jalapeno (if using) and the torn basil/mint into the chicken mixture.

Serve the curry over hot jasmine rice, sprinkled with the chopped peanuts/coconut.


*Actually, I lied. Swifty’s “Shake it Off” is the stickiest song ever, but “Blank Space” comes close. Help me.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

S in AK February 4, 2015 at 9:26 am

Is there any possibility this is a peri-menopause-related symptom? And have you tried the OTC remedies for PM–the ones with soy and black cohash? Am trying this recipe tomorrow.


Biz February 4, 2015 at 9:55 am

I just thought it was because I am nearing 50 that I think every Taylor Swift song sounds exactly.fucking.the.same. I cannot stand her – so sorry that the ringing AND Taylor Swift have moved into your brain!

I love that dish, and think Hannah and Jacob would like it too! :D Sending hugs that the ringing goes away soon!


Anonymous February 4, 2015 at 4:56 pm

Do you ever listen to the Peoples Pharmacy on NPR. Well, there was a show a while back about Tinnitus. There is some audiologist at Duke who is doing amazing groundbreaking work for this disorder and many people are being cured.
The host of the Peoples Pharmacy has Tinnitus. If you go to the website and search the archives you might be able to learn more.


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri February 4, 2015 at 6:18 pm

Sorry about the ringing. I suffer from tinnitus too and it seems to come and go based on the weather. Totally. Frustrating. I get it. Hope it resolves soon, Kitch. xo


Alison February 5, 2015 at 12:48 am

I love chicken curry! Absolutely going to try this.
Sorry about the tinnitus, hope it goes away soon.


elizabeth February 5, 2015 at 7:20 am

I honestly don’t know what’s worse: TSwift stuck in your head or tinnitus. (OK, that’s easy: TSwift as an earworm.) Seriously, though, that really sucks–at least you have the slow-cooker to give you a hand when you don’t feel like making much else.

As for the giant headphones, well, just act like you’re a Very Important DJ and you need the full audio experience to decide your next killer mix. Or something. :)


Sherri February 5, 2015 at 7:49 am

The Tinnitus – interesting (and awful – hope it gets better) – because I think I may have a mild version recently (triggered by a cold that plugged my ears)… Anyway – I can’t imagine a full blown case of it. Chicken curry looks good, though. Did that brighten the day? I mean…. I know the earworm t.swift songs won’t do that :).


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes February 6, 2015 at 5:24 am

Just reading ‘Blank Space’ got the song stuck in my head again.
Tinnitus is awful! You have my sympathies and I hope it goes away soon!


Pamela February 7, 2015 at 4:28 am

oh no!!! Try books on audible. You will be hooked. I hope it gets better,,


Tiffany February 25, 2015 at 6:28 am

I’m so sorry this is happening…how annoying!! I’m definitely going to have to try these recipes…if you say they’re good, they may be! I don’t usually like slow cooker stuff.

P.s. Welcome to NY always gets stuck for me…


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