Friday, August 7, 2009
Recipes from the Feast - Thai Green Curry
This is one recipe that I've made a few times in the vain hope that it will be as good as my Dad's version without success. Sure it's delicious, everyone loves it etc. But if you'd tasted my Dad's Thai Green Curry you'd think mine was pretty boring. Everyone raves about his - and get this - we use the same recipe! I think he has secrets about it that he won't let on... Nevertheless, this curry is still seriously good.
When I cooked this for the feast I omitted any ingredients that were not vegetarian, and it was still lovely. To make this vegetarian/vegan just omit the shrimp paste from the curry paste and the fish sauce from the curry (replace with soy sauce). Camila loved it and said there were 'four layers of flavour', so I can't be too far off. Maybe it's just years of practice, eh Dad?
I never watched any Masterchef but these popculture things filter through somehow. I found out that when they made curries on that show they used BOTTLED CURRY PASTE. This strikes me as pretty lazy for chefs who were competing on their culinary merits! Do try making your own curry paste! It's not hard, and it's very worth it. Bottled curry paste. Pfft. Just another marketing opportunity?
Anyway, here's the recipe.
Thai Green Curry
(adapted from Charmaine Solomon's The Complete Asian Cookbook)
Green Curry Paste
4 large fresh green chillies (I used 2)
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 small brown onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped coriander - including root(I used more. I can't help it. I'm in love with coriander)
2 teaspoons chopped lemon rind
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cummin
1 teaspoon serai powder (? what's this? didn't use it - optional)
1 teaspoon laos powder (? didn't use this either, but Charmaine says it is optional)
2 teaspoons dried shrimp paste (kapi) - from asian groceries, omit for vege version
1 tablespoon oil
Remove chilli stems and slice open. Remove seeds if you want a milder curry, leave in for something mindblowing. Roughly chop chillis and put in mortar and pestle (or blender) with all other ingredients. Bash/smash/puree till paste-like. Note: Bashing ingredients with a mortar and pestle until paste-like is a great way to release tensions. Swear and yell and get it all out. How relaxing! You may need to add a little extra oil to bring it together. You can keep this paste in an airtight container until you are ready to use it. Keeps well in fridge for a few weeks.
1 kg chicken pieces, or vegetables for a vegie curry (I used zucchini and eggplant, but sweet potato, potato and bok choy are great too)
2 tins coconut milk (not 'lite')
3 tablespoons of your delicious home made curry paste
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fish sauce / (or soy sauce for vegie version)
As many or as little green chillis as you can handle (optional)
Big handful finely chopped coriander
Open tins of coconut and spoon off a cupful of the creamiest bit at the top. Heat this cupful of cream in a large heavy saucepan, stirring constantly until it comes to the boil. Lower heat and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the cream thickens and oil bubbles around it. By this time it should be reduced to a quarter of the original amount. Add the curry paste and fry the rich oily cream for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. The curry paste will smell cooked and the oil will seperate from it when it is ready. When this happens add your ingredients, whether that be chicken pieces or lots of vegies and perhaps some tofu. Fry in paste until browned and partially cooked. Add the remaining coconut milk, lime juice, salt and fish sauce (or soy) and stir while the coconut milk comes to the boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer uncovered until the ingredients are well cooked, and the gravy rich and oily. Stir in the chopped coriander and chillis (again, chilli optional!), simmer 5 minutes longer.
Serve with rice and a garnish of coriander. Serves around 6 people.
Yum yum yum....