Following on from my recent trip to Thailand and my cooking class with Bao a fantastic Thai chef, which I will write about shortly, I’ve kind of become ever so slightly obsessed with cooking Thai food at home. Before this recent trip, I had been a big fan of Thai Green Curry often making it for friends as it’s a great tasty dish which is easy to make and full of flavour. I have to admit to always using pre made curry pastes.
My latest obsession is the Red Curry, particularly having seen how easy it is to make your own. Last week, inspired by my trip and also some articles about curry pastes in Ahlan and on-line I decided to make my own red curry paste. Here is the recipe as well as some step by step pictures so you can see how easy it is. If you have a spare ten minutes I encourage you to make your own, the flavours are so fresh and vibrant and the great thing is that you can tweak the paste to suit your own personal taste.
Thai Red Curry Paste Recipe :
10 dried red chillies (adjust quantity if you don’t want it so spicy)
tablespoon of chopped red onion or 1 small chopped shallot
10 white peppercorns
5 Kaffir Lime Leaves
1 Stalk Lemon Grass (white bit only) chopped* I substituted with bottled as I couldn’t find fresh lemon grass
1 Tablespoon shrimp Paste
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
4 cloves garlic
1 inch piece of galangal – skin removed and chopped
1 inch piece of tumeric – skin removed and chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon dried powder if you can’t find fresh)
Directions : Place all ingredients in a food processor (or use a hand blender or even mortle and pestle if you want to build muscles) and blend until the paste is smooth and all of the ingredients are incorporated, add some water or coconut milk if the texture if too thick and the blender is having problems blending. That’s it – simple, easy and flavoursome.
You can then use the paste either to make a thick reduced sauce which is idea with fish dishes or a more soupy Thai red curry sauce which is idea for chicken and duck dishes depending on what you are making.
I chose to make a reduced sauce to accompany Cream Dory fillets. In the cooking class, we used Baramundi – the fish was so fresh it was literally swimming in the reiver five minutes before hitting the wok – my substitute involved a quick dash to Spinneys and the fish counter – not quite so dramatic but it worked all the same.
For the fish I deep fried two skinless fish fillets in a wok half full of hot oil until cooked (about 10 minutes) after coating simply with flour. Be careful not to break the fillets as they are delicate when cooking. Once the fish is cooked, drain it on some kitchen towel. NOTE: Bao left the skin on the fillets of fish that he cooked.
For the sauce : add a good few tablespoons of the paste to a wok and heat with a little coconut oil for a few minutes or until the chili gets to the back of your throat and you start coughing (maybe that was just me), add 1/2 can of coconut milk and stir to blend together. Keep the heat high and reduce the sauce until it has a thick consistency and the sauce is about 1/3 rd of the original quantity. Arrange the fish on your serving place and pour the sauce over the fish.
Then quickly reduce a little coconut milk in a hot clean wok until it thickens and pour this over the Thai red curry sauce on top of your fish. Garnish with chopped chillies, eat and enjoy. Addition : I like to enhance my sauce with the addition of some fresh grated coconut which I add when the sauce is almost finished reducing.
For a thinner sauce : Follow the instructions above, but double the quantity of coconut milk, add browned sliced chicken or duck breast which has been seared quickly in a separate pan, cook on a slow heat until the chicken or duck is cooked through. Towards the end of cooking I add some fresh vegetables eg mange tous, baby asparagus tips and baby sweetcorn so that the dish becomes a one pot dish.
Serve both dishes with rice or noodles, or with some fresh vegetables or salad depending on your palate.
Other Curry Paste Recipes
From my research, everyone has their own take on the perfect recipe for curry paste :
You can also see two other recipe suggestions in articles below – my personal opinion is that you can make it your own by adding or adjusting the ingredients as you please – foodie freestyling is the term I use. Enjoy