Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Thai Green Curry

Hello all! Monsieur bouche invited me to contribute here some time ago, but I dragged and dragged and dragged. So, as part of the list of new year promises I make and break for myself, I decided that I would try to get some recipes posted in 2009. I'll start by saying that I love spicy foods. (My wife and I both do!) We picked this recipe up while roaming around Thailand in 2007. Anyone who knows Thai food knows green curry, so let's get started.

To do this right, you're going to want the freshest ingredients you can find. Luckily, we have a local Asian market not too far away that has fresh produce that you can't find in most supermarkets. You can use whatever meat you want in the curry. We typically use shrimp or tofu, but chicken or beef work just as well. Here is the list of ingredients;

1 lb shrimp (uncooked and shelled)
6-8 Thai eggplants
A handful of green beans
1 cup of Thai basil leaves
2 kaffir lime leaves
a dash of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 small jar of green curry paste (2-4 tablespoons)
2 cans of coconut milk/cream
2 medium green chiles
4-6 small red chiles
a handful of Thai "peas"

I normally use a lot more chiles in the recipe than I've listed above. Adjust to your own taste. Also, I lost something called Thai "peas". I'm not sure exactly what these are, but they add a nice bitter touch to the dish and an interesting texture.

First of all, pour one can of coconut milk onto a large sauce pan or wok. I use a sauce pan because I don't have the gas stove, which I feel is important to cooking in a wok...but what the hell do I know? Fry on high for 5 or so minutes, or until the coconut milk seems to separate into an oil. (ok, this part I know, so pay attention)

Now add the curry paste. Making curry paste from scratch is a pain in the arse, so I typically buy the pre-made stuff. Next time I make the paste, I'll post that too. Oh, fry for about 2 more minutes, then add your shrimp, chicken, tofu, whatever.

Fry the meat until the shrimp turn opaque, then add 3/4 of the other can of coconut milk. Fry for 2-3 min, or until the coconut milk boils again. Now cut the eggplamt into bite-size pieces and add it to the mix with the beans, peas, and half of your red chiles finely chopped. It should look something like this:

Cook for another 5-8 minutes, or until the eggplant starts to soften. Remove the main stem from the kaffir lime leaves and chop those little bastards up! Now add your fish sauce, sugar, basil leaves and kaffir lime leaves and stir it in. Make sure the sugar melts and the leaves soften into the curry.

Ok, almost done.

I use a ladel made from a coconut just so it feels that much more authentic. At this point, your're basically done. Serve on a bed of rice (we prefer jasmine) and garnish with a couple basil leaves, some of those chopped green and red chiles, and a few drops of the leftover coconut milk. This is by far one of my favourite dishes, and it's really easy. ...impresses the guests every time!




There always seems to be a completely different method when I read another green/red thai curry, but the basics are the same.

We always make sure to use:

Thai Basil leaves - italian basil just doesn't have that lemony bite.
Mae Ploy Curry Paste (red especially) - container costs $3.00 and lasts FOREVER
Squid Brand Fish Sauce - there is no measure for this. We always use it "to taste". Usually that means about 3-4 tbsp for a 4 portion pot.


Japanese eggplants - When thai eggplants are not available, the skinny purple ones are easy to get the same size chunks.
Roasted eggplant - try roasting the eggplant first (especially if you're stuck with the big Mediterranean eggplant), and then add it to your curry when it is nearly finished. great flavor.
Palm Sugar - if you can find palm sugar, that is so much more flavourful.

Method Variation:

Before pouring your can of coconut milk into the pan, take the separated oil from the top of the can and heat that first. Add the curry paste and fry it in the oil until it becomes aromatic. Add minced corriander stems. Then proceed with your protein and the rest of the milk and recipe from there.

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