Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thai Red Curry

Sometimes, I cook...
Actually, I cook a lot. And plan on cooking a lot more once Aaron and I move into our own place.

I warn you, however, that I DO NOT follow recipes exactly as they are listed. I have found this too hard and much less exciting. So I use recipes as more of a guide.

Today, I decided to make Thai Red Curry. Red curry gets its color from dried red chili's soaked in water (with or without seeds depending on how spicy you like your food). Aaron and I like super spicy, HOT food. I will not give you that recipe.

Overall, the curry was a success. It's not as red as I would have liked, but like I said, the color comes from the dried red chili's. I could have continued to add more and more, but decided the color doesn't really matter.

First, you need to make the paste.
You can make as much of the paste as you want. I multiplied the amounts below by 3 since I wanted to have extra to freeze for a later date. You don't need to do this. Again, the portions of the ingredients are approximates. I generally add more or less of certain ingredients.

Red Curry Paste:
1 tbsp. Galangal- peeled and chopped (substitute ginger)
2 tsp. Lemongrass- lower part 1/3 chopped. In my opinion, this is a very important ingredient, but lemongrass is sometimes hard to find in the states. I have discovered that many markets sell refrigerated, pureed lemongrass in the refrigerated section. It works, but it's not the same has real lemongrass.
1 tsp. Kaffir lime- peeled and chopped (substitute orange peel)
1 tbsp. Coriander root chopped
3 tbsp. Shallots
2 tbsp. Garlic- crushed and chopped
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. shrimp or anchovy paste
10 small dried red chili's (this will make it spicy. Use less if you like more mild foods)
3 large dried chili's- seeds removed and soaked in water for 15 minutes (this will make it red, if it works)
1 tsp. pepper, cumin, coriander seeds- roasted and ground (in mortar) I used the powder stuff to save time
3-4 Cardamom pods- roasted and ground (just remove seeds from pod, put on skillet, roast until you can smell the fragrance)

For the galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime, coriander, shallots, and garlic you want to chop and mash. This is important. It help bring the flavors out prior to mixing. Once they are mashed and ready, add to blender, along with the rest of the ingredients. Add water, a little at a time. You want it to be smoothie consistency.

Once blended completely, it is ready and can be set aside.

Now that the paste is made, the rest is easy.
First, decide what vegetables and meat you want in your curry. I chose:

1 onion
1 head of culiflower
1 bunch of spinich
1 cup carrots
1 cup snap peas
6 green and red chilis
1 yellow bell pepper
3 chicken breasts

To the curry you also need to add:

2 tbsp. oil
2 tbsp. fish sauce (I always add more)
1 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. Tamarind juice (substitute lemon or lime juice)
1 cup coconut milk per 2 tbsp. of paste

Note: I first decided how much curry I wanted. Since 5 people were eating, and I wanted leftovers, I decided to use 2 cans of coconut milk. 1 can regular, 1 can low fat. For a thicker, more coconutty sauce, use whole fat. I then added the paste a little at a time until I got the ratio I wanted. It is easier to add more paste than coconut milk.

In my opinion, there isn't an exact science to choosing what ingredients to add first. I first sauteed the onion and veggies in 2 tbsp. oil (except cauliflower and spinich). I then added the chicken, cooked for 2 minutes and then added the coconut milk and let it come to a boil. Once the chicken is cooked, add the fish sauce, sugar and tamarind juice. Finally, slowly start adding the paste, 1 tbsp. at a time until you get a ratio that tastes best for you.

Finally, add the remaining vegetables, cook until soft, steam some rice...And EAT!

My apologies. I got so excited to eat that I forgot to take a photo of the finished product on my plate with the rice. Woops.

I will try to remember next time.

Please, if you have any questions, leave me a message or email me and I will be happy to help out!

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1 comment:

Dorothy Explor'r said...

mmm! this looks delish and is very close to how i make mine too :)