Wedged against one another for the duration of a three and a half hour flight may try each other’s patience, but for us, it was a wonderful time to share secrets, chat and flip through the French Laundry cookbook in between chapters of the novel I’m currently lost in. Our stomachs growling were the only constant rhythm of the trip, which stacco’d the whirs of the plane jet. Between cracking pistachio shells we shared a US Airways fruit + cheese plate, replete with one bunch of grape, three cheeses, almonds, crackers that we didn’t eat (no sugar, no grains, remember) and one strawberry that we shared well (gold star in preschool for us!). Our first stop upon landing in Punta Cana was the grocery store. We wandered the aisles making up our own Spanish translation and filling the cart with our basics – eggs, beans, cheese, seasoned sauces, salsa and produce – bananas, plantains, mangos, and papaya.
The next stop for half of us was the bar. For the other half it was determining where we could find food. An actual meal. We were running on early morning kale smoothies, fruits, nuts and shared cheese, trying not to let frayed travel nerves show. We discovered an excursion salesman on the beach named Raymond and asked him about vittles. He kindly escorted us to Bamboo Bar… a local establishment with zero customers but lots of generosity. We were treated to local libations, nachos, dessert, more libations and tons of enthusiams about the pollo curry. Bravely, we ordered cinco and held our breath. When it arrived I could have sucked the sauce through a straw. It was succulent, flavorful, strong and well-seasoned. And served in a half pineapple, to boot. Rarely have I encountered a dish so perfectly aligned to my present needs. I raved and raved, surpassing the complementary chocolate and caramel crepes for an extra spoonful of curry. When I implored to my husband that we not only come back daily but figure out how to make it at home he let me know that he’d been keeping secrets in our marriage and had a to-die-for chicken curry recipe right up his sleeve. No doubt tofu can be subbed for chicken for a vegetarian delicacy equaling or surpassing Bamboo Bar’s beachfront fare.
1/2 cup diced onions1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup sliced red peppers
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup chicken stock
2 T green curry paste
2 large chicken breast or you can use dark meat
Kosher salt and cracked pepper
MOP (method of preparation)
Saute’ carrots, celery, onios and red peppers in olive oil. Add cubed chicken breast and cook 3/4 of the way. Add curry paste, chicken stock and reduce by half. Add heavy cream, salt and pepper and simmer until thickened. Serve over cous cous or rice, or inside a hollowed out pineapple half, if you’re feeling in the island spirit.