Although I call it “my” Thai green curry, unfortunately I cannot take all the credit…
My 21st Birthday present from my mum was a trip to Thailand during which my friend Jen and I spent a week in Chiang Mai. This amazing city seems to be the Northern hub of some seriously spicy and fragrant foods‚ not to mention the freshest fruit, and Bird of Paradise flowers growing like weeds! Wanting to soak up as much culture as possible, we checked in to Baan Thai – an evening of cookery school, we thought it would help our culture karma after having sunbathed most of the day!
Marched off to the local market with a small crew of 6 other spice-tolerant tourists, shopping lists in hand, we had already had our “Sawadeeka’s” and had chosen the dishes we wanted to make. I’m sure we all thought we had picked the most interesting and unusual dishes, until we were back on GB soil, headed straight to a Thai restaurant and everything we had made was on Set Meal A!
Of course we had all drooled over the Thai Green Curry (extra hot) and it was certainly top of my list! Back and armed with several baskets of chillies, lemon grass, ginger, coriander, basil and mountains of other fresh goodies that you just don’t get as good anywhere else, we began to cook.
Sat round in what felt a bit like a mediation circle, on the floor with our legs crossed, armed with only a pestle and mortar, we began to master the art of the infamous Green Curry Paste.
Having tried and tested many a curry paste, homemade and bought, I have concluded that the best available is by far the Thai Taste Keow Wan pastes. The ingredients list is as fresh and natural as that of the market we visited, and it keeps in the fridge forever! (actual time 1-2 months).
Then the rest is up to you – add chicken, prawns or beef and any veg combo your heart desires. Play around with the flavours but stick to the KEY RULE of Thai cooking: sweet, sour, hot and salty.
Here is my take on the Thai classic, lovingly evolved over the last 7 years.
2 large dollops of Thai Taste Keow Wan green curry paste
1 tin of coconut milk (use low fat at your peril, it will dry out the curry and dilute the flavour)
2 x chicken fillets – cut into strips
1 x packet of fresh baby Sweetcorn – line them up and chop into 3 pieces
1 x small tin water chestnuts, halved
2 x baby aubergine (or 1/2 a normal aubergine) cut into chunks and soaked in cold water
1 soup spoon of Nam Pla (fish sauce)
3 teaspoons of sugar
1 x large torn up handful of basil – the bigger the leaves the better. I find Sainsbury’s the best for this
1 x cup of Thai fragrant or Jasmine rice
A gulp of olive oil
1 x fresh red chilli (optional)
Method (as simple as I can get it)
Get your gulp of olive oil as hot as you can, then stand back as you add 2 large dollops of curry paste – it will spit so don’t try and cook this wearing anything you care about!
Break up the paste and get it all warmed up and fragrant. Add a splash (about 1/4 of a can) of your coconut milk, just to loosen the paste a little. Then get your chicken strips in an cook these until the outside of the meat is all sealed.
Leave this on a low heat for a couple of minutes so the chicken soaks up all the lovely flavour, and you can get the kettle boiling for the rice.
Put your rice in a saucepan and cover with boiling water – get the heat to a gentle boil and give it a good swirl around so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Stand back, take a breath and get all utensils you’re finished with cleared away.
Next, drop in your baby corn, water chestnuts and aubergine. This is going to really pad out your curry and these vegetables especially are fantastic for soaking up all the flavour of the sauce.
Give the curry a stir, and stir your rice again while you’re at it!
Now it is time to enhance the flavour, start by adding the basics: fish sauce, sugar and half the torn up basil. Stir in and let this simmer for 1 minute, then taste it with a teaspoon.
For tips on how to season and balance out thai flavours see <a title=”How to Balance Thai Flavours” href=”http://www.squeezeoflemon.com/2012/01/08/how-to-balance-thai-flavours/” target=”_blank”>How to Balance Thai Flavours</a>
Simmer away until you have cooked, drained and rinsed your rice with boiling water to remove the starch and make it nice and fluffy…
Dish up and enjoy.