Thai Food is tasty, fragrant and healthy and is easily adaptable to vegan and gluten free diets. This is an easy, low fat, all-in-one curry paste that can be made in minutes. I first made this curry in Thailand - so it's a really authentic recipe.
When we travelled to Chiang Mai, Thailand, we took part in a very enjoyable Thai Cooking Class in Chiang Mai. We came away from the Zabb E Lee Cookery School with a small cookery book allowing us to recreate dishes at home.
Coming home back to the small market town that we live, sourcing authentic Asian ingredients wasn't going to be that easy. So, I've slightly changed from the original recipe. There are only slight swaps, like substituting Kaffir limes with fresh limes and fresh turmeric to ground.
Packed with fresh chillies
This recipe calls for lots of fresh, green chillies. Thai chillies are the most authentic and can be bought in the supermarkets but if you can't get this particular variety, any green chilli will suffice. Use as many as your palate can muster!
This year, we've decided to grow an array of chillies, including a Thai Dragon which is a RHS awarded hot pepper. They grow thin pointed green fruits that mature and ripen into a deep glossy red colour. The chillies grow to around 7cm long but you can pick them early to use while they are still small and green.
How to keep fresh herbs fresher for longer
This recipe calls for lots of fresh coriander. Herbs can go from vibrant and fresh to dark and limp in the blink of an eye. But, there are a couple of ways to keep fresh herbs fresher that bit longer.
Keeping them in the fridge helps preservation and you can do one of two things. One way is to place the cut stems in a glass filled with water.
Remember to change the water at least every couple of days.
Alternatively, take a couple of pieces of kitchen roll and wet them through, wringing out any excess water. Sandwich the fresh herbs in between the two pieces of damp kitchen roll and lightly wrap in cling film. The herbs should stay fresh for around 10 days.
To freeze or not to freeze?
Herbs freeze exceptionally well. Tender herbs like basil, flat leaf parsley, dill and coriander (cilantro) need a little more care before they hit the freezer. As the leaves are delicate, you are best chopping the leaves and placing freezing them with a little olive oil or water. For convenience, place the herb mix into an ice cube tray before freezing.
Hardy herbs like rosemary, sage and thyme are much more robust. Use the method of placing them between two pieces of kitchen roll and cling film before popping into a freezer bag and then freezing. Learn from my mistake - labeling the contents makes things so much easier. Tasting from frozen to identify the herb type can lead to brain freeze!
Make it vegan and use a Vegetarian Fish Sauce
This recipe does include a fish sauce. But obviously this shouldn't be included if you want to keep the recipe vegetarian or vegan. I always use a Vegetarian Fish Sauce, not because I'm vegan, it's just that fish doesn't necessarily suit my tummy.
Vegetarian Fish Sauce is made from seaweed, so has a naturally salty flavour. The brand I use is Thai Taste, which you can buy from Waitrose, Ocado and also in farm shops and independent delis.
Thai Green Curry Paste Recipe
This makes enough for a tasty curry for up to 4 people. This paste can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days. Alternatively, you can freeze and use within 1 month.
10 fresh Green Chillies
1 tsp Salt
1 tbsp fresh Galangal - if you can't find this, use extra fresh ginger
1 tbsp Lemongrass
5 Garlic Cloves
2 large Echalion Shallots
1 tsp Kaffir Lime Rind - of fresh lime rind
Bunch of Fresh Coriander
1 tsp Fresh Turmeric - or Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Fish Sauce
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Coriander Seeds
1/2tsp Cumin Powder
1 tsp Fresh Ginger
It's up to you. But, the traditional method is to place the seeds and dried spices in a mortar and pound well. Then add in all remaining ingredients except the fish sauce and pound together. Once it's smooth, mix in the shrimp paste.
Alternatively, you can do what I do and place all ingredients into a chopper or food processor and blitz until you get a smooth paste.
Transform it into a curry
For a Chicken Curry: Pan fry chicken until sealed. Then add in the curry paste and heat for a couple of minutes. Add a can of coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Add in chopped beans, broccoli, green beans and aubergine. Simmer for around 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
For a King Prawn Curry: Gently heat the curry paste and stir in the coconut milk. Add in the vegetables and simmer for around 7 minutes. Add in the king prawns and cook for the final 3 minutes.
For a Vegetable Curry: Gently heat the curry paste and stir in the coconut milk. Add in a selection of vegetables - aubergine, sweet potato, baby corn, green beans, broccoli, mushrooms, peppers. Don't overcook the vegetables as they need to retain a crunch.