With Nupur’s last post, we ticked off the beginning of festivities! At 156 hunger lane ,we hope to be a part of your celebrations in the journey towards welcoming 2013! We are always thinking, discussing and experimenting with recipes that could be an interesting addition to your festive menu. Be it Diwali or Christmas, card parties or cozy dinners, we want to be involved, be right there for you!
The picture of Pea and Pesto soup reminded me of Thai Green Curry and I wondered why I didn’t share the recipe here till now. I have tried and tested to work around the original recipe, using authentic ingredients (one positive of being so close to Thailand) as well as their easily available substitutes. I can finally vouch for this vegetarian recipe. It uses no fish sauce and no chicken broth but still comes very close to the vegetarian Thai Curry that I have eaten at my favorite restaurants – Malaka Spice at Pune , Thai High @ Qutub and mamagoto at New Delhi. Authentically, being a non-vegetarian curry, not many vegetarian standards are available to compare. Therefore, there is no right or wrong to this recipe. Use your own judgement and taste, to adjust the amount of spice and sweetness; I am sure you would enjoy it!
In our kitchen, Thai Curry is cooked at least twice a month, with hubby dearest drooling over its freshness.
First Step is to make the paste. Red or Green- the choice is all yours since most of the ingredients are same (and hence, the taste to some extent). Here’s what all we need:
Lemon Grass stalks are easily available even in Indian hypermarkets now. You can even look for frozen lemon grass ( its called hari chai ki patti – refer picture). Look for stalks that are fragrant, tightly formed, and have lemony-green color near the bulb. It has lots of layers with a coarse paper-like outer texture, keep peeling it till you reach a softer layer. Cut and remove the thick bulb near the roots and pound the long green stalk with a heavy object , this helps in releasing the flavor. Chop the stalk into small pieces as by doing this it would be easily able to grind it.
Galangal is also called as Siamese Ginger. It is harder than the normal young ginger and therefore, more difficult to cut. It has a unique flavor of its own and is essential in the authentic recipe. I have tried and used both the options in my cooking. Considering the ease of availability, I feel ginger will also do the trick. Chop thumb size of whatever you get into thin shreds to help in the grinding process.
One of the key ingredients and that should be used as per your taste. For red curry paste, the dried kashmiri chilies help in giving the bright red color while for green curry paste, the coriander leaves do the needful. If you want to use more chilies for the color and still wish to reduce the spice , you can de-seed the chilies. Degi Mirch or Kashmiri chili powder is a mild spice that gives more color than spice and is hence recommended. Soak the chilis in warm water so they give a pasty texture on grinding.
The chilies specially the thai red padi’s I have used here can be very hot! Please wear gloves before you try to split them open for the de-seeding process. I have had experiences when the chili leaves a burning sensation on the skin. But this time, I almost had my hands on fire! The sensation does not go for hours, at times. Take thorough precautions but if you still end up getting the burning sensation, scrub the affected areawith salt and water. Rub in milk or coconut oil for the balming effect.
Kaffir Lime and Thai Basil
Lime leaves and Thai Basil are both dark green aromatic leaves. They both help in providing a distinguishing aroma to the paste. In Singapore, both Kaffir Lime and Thai Basil are easily available at supermarkets and vegetable markets. These might be a little difficult to find in countries other than those in South East Asia. While Thai Basil can be skipped, Kaffir Lime could be substituted by the lemon peel/rind. Please ensure that you do not peel the rind too deep – try avoiding peeling the white skin inside or it could be bitter. Peel of half a lime should be enough to substitute the leaves.
Chop and grind all the ingredients in the smallest jar of your food processor till you get a fine paste ( add water if required). It is as simple as that.
Make in advance and store it. Once my Paste is ground, you can store it in an air tight container and freeze it up to 6 weeks. The uncooked paste does not spoil if kept in the freezer. Whenever you wish to make thai curry again, it takes just 15 mins to thaw the paste and your Thai curry could be ready in a jiffy.
Once the Thai curry paste is ready, making the curry is as simple as it can get. Here’s what you need to do:
The amount of curry used in proportion to the Coconut Milk is completely up to your taste and liking. We generally follow the mentioned ratio. You may add vegetables of your choice. Just parboil the vegetables, it would taste better if its crunchier. If you are adding bell peppers , add them raw. They would be perfectly tender when you leave them to simmer in the curry for 10 mins , as indicated in the recipe.
Once you have added the vegetables, just let it cook for 10 mins & your piping hot (literally) curry is ready to serve!
Serve it hot with Sticky rice or any fragrant rice. ( I have specially bought aromatic Thai Rice for this cuisine :)).
Be it Red or Green, enjoy the curry HOT and savor the spicy sweet taste!
For those who wanted yellow curry or massaman curry, we still need to try its vegetarian recipes! Stay tuned on this page for more surprises that come your way!
Keep cooking, eating and sharing!
Laew Phop Kan Mai Na Ka!! ( See you again in Thai :P)