Thai curries are always perfect if you really are looking for lots of flavour in every bite. In Thailand, 1 chicken breast easily serves a family of 4 in a curry dish – lots of vegetables help out, and of course you won’t want to miss a drop of the curry so your rice is perfect to soak it all up. This version is vegetarian, served with barbecued chicken, but it is easy to add whatever protein you are inclined to use.
Whatever vegetables you use are totally up for discussion – take what is in season and use that, or if you need to scrape something together at the last moment keep a jar of baby corn, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots in your pantry!
You will need:
whatever vegetables you plan to use chopped and ready
any meat sliced very thin and ready to go in
For this basic curry use:
1 tbsp red curry paste
1 tbsp massaman curry paste
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or sliced
1 inch ginger, minced or sliced
galangal root (fresh if you can get it, but powdered if not available in your area)
lemongrass (again fresh is best but powdered is a decent standby)
1 can coconut milk or cream
kaffir lime leaves
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp raw sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
Heat peanut oil, stir in onion, garlic and ginger. Allow to soften but not brown. Stir in curry pastes, and allow curry to cook for a couple of minutes, then add galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Slowly add half the coconut milk, and allow the sauce to fully incorporate. Gently simmer ….. then add most of the coconut milk – reserving some in case your curry is too spicy.
During one of my cooking classes in Thailand I was advised to add the meat, then NOT TO STIR until the meat is cooked through.
Allow the meat and vegetables to cook through, and taste. This is plenty spicy enough for our family, but if you like more heat add either freshly chopped chile or red chili flakes. If, on the other hand, your family is not keen on spice at all just start with 1 tsp of each of the curry pastes, and oh so gently, gradually increase the amount of paste.
When you remove the curry from the heat stir in the lime juice, sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce. All Thai dishes contain the 4 essential elements of sweet, sour, salty and spicy from these ingredients.
It may take a bit of playing around to get the taste of Thailand into your kitchen, but you will be so glad you did!