Sunday, February 10, 2008

Green Thai-style Curry

I can't go back to store bought, ready-made curry pastes. It makes so much difference when you make your own. This is a recipe for a green Thai-style curry. We had this last week with shrimp but you could use chicken, fish or whatever vegetables you have.

For the green curry paste you will need:
  • Chilies (I used two really hot ones - they look like the habanero, maybe they are) but if they are less hot you will need to add more - depending on your taste
  • A handful of spring onions (most recipes call for shallots but I can't get these here) or half a yellow onion
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 3 cm chunk of ginger (or galangal if you have it)
  • 1 tablespoon of sliced lemon grass (I don't have this so I don't use it)
  • A slice of lime rind
  • A big handful of coriander leaves, stalks and roots
  • 1/2 a tablespoon of peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon each of roasted coriander and cumin seeds (I throw them in a dry frying pan over high heat for a minute or so and they're done) - you can use a bit less of ground coriander or cumin too
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • Juice of one lime
For the rest:
  • Shrimp, chicken, fish or whatever vegetables you want to use (could be pumpkin, sweet potato, tomato, carrot, snow peas, whatever you fancy). I used two dozen small shrimp.
  • 1 onion cut into wedges
  • Oil (whatever type you like to use)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • Fish sauce to season
  • Some coriander leaves to garnish
Place all of the curry paste ingredients in a food processor (you could use a mortar and pestle if you prefer or don't have a food processor. You might want to grind the roasted coriander seeds before putting them in the food processor as they tend to stay in quite large chunks - I quite like this, but you might not). Blend for a minute or so until it turns into a vibrant green paste.

Put whatever oil you like to use in a frying pan and throw in your shrimp, fish, chicken or vegetables and fry until they are about half cooked. The reason I do this is rather than putting them in raw into the sauce is because they add a really deep flavor to the oil and as a result to the rest of the dish. Take them out of the pan and put aside, leaving the oil in the pan. Cook the onions, and add the paste, I add around 3 tablespoons first, give it a bit of a fry and then I pour in the coconut milk, the water, bring it to a boil and then I taste and add more paste until it suits my taste. Add some more fish sauce, then whatever protein or vegetables you are using and simmer for a few more minutes until cooked through. Add more fish sauce if necessary. Sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves. Serve with steamed rice. Easy.

This will serve 3 hungry and 4 less hungry people.

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