When I visited Thailand last year, I did a cooking course in Silom Thai Cooking School in Bangkok. The Red Curry was the first item on the menu. We learned how to prepare fresh red curry paste from local herbs and species. You can store it in a jar with some oil and keep it in the fridge for up to a month. It is a very handy way to prepare a quick dinner after a cold winter working day. You can add almost anything you want and serve it with some hot steamy jasmine rice.
- Using a stone mortar can enhance the flavour of the curry paste. However a food processor can deliver the same result
- It is difficult to buy all the exotic herbs. Most Asian market carries at least 80% of the mentioned ingredients
- Add oil to the finished paste and mix it well. It’ll help to preserve the freshness of the paste.
Red curry paste (nam prik gaeng phet)
To make about 2 cups of red curry paste
10 dried red chilies, soak in water for at least 3 hours
4 hot chilies (smaller the hotter)
2 tablespoons lemon grass, thick bottom third only, outer layers removed,
inner part finely sliced
1 teaspoon galangal ginger, finely grated
1 teaspoon baby ginger
1 teaspoon kaffir lime rind, finely sliced
2 teaspoons shallot, sliced
3 tablespoons garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon coriander stem, finely chopped (use the root if you can find it)
1/2 teaspoon roasted coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon roasted cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon roasted black peppercorns
1 teaspoon shrimp paste (vegetarian just omit)
Pound everything together in a mortar using a pestle to form a fine paste or use food processor and process until smooth.
Using the mortar allows the ingredients to release their flavors better than a blender. The mortar is also granite stone which keeps the curry paste cool, enhancing the taste. Once prepared. The curry paste can be kept in a jar with a little vegetable oil. Keep in the fridge for several months.
To serve the curry, you can follow the recipe below. (Red Curry with Chicken in Coconut Milk)
However you can use it with any meat items or as a vegetarian dish with tofu. I also use the curry paste to make a Ginger and Onion Dungeness crab dinner.
Chicken ½ cut to cube (boneless)
Marinade the chicken for half an hour with ½ teaspoon of Kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce, pinch of white pepper, 1 tablespoon of cooking wine, and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch.
Oil 3x tablespoons
Garlic 1 clove (chopped)
Shallot 1 clove (chopped)
Ginger 1 small piece
Red curry paste 2x tablespoons
Coconut milk 2x cans
Kaffir lime leaves 6x finely chopped
Fresh hot chili x2 finely chopped
Sweet basil 20 leaves finely chopped
Turmeric ginger 1 teaspoon (chopped)
Fish sauce 1 tablespoon
Palm sugar ½ of a piece
Tamarind paste 2x tablespoons
Yukon yellow potato 2x (cut to cube and steam for ten minutes)
Carrot 1x (cut to cube and steam for ten minutes)
Cooking the chicken:
Put one tablespoon of oil in a hot wok, add garlic, ginger and shallot. Stir fry quickly for five minutes and add onion. Let it cook for another two minutes. Set aside for later use.
Put oil in wok over low heat. Add red curry paste and stirring continuously until fragrant. Add lime leaves, turmeric ginger, sweet basil leaves, hot pepper, and stir for a minute. Add coconut milk. Season to taste with fish sauce, tamarind paste and palm sugar. Reduce the sauce until thick.
Add chicken, potato and carrot to the curry sauce and stir well. Serve hot with jasmine rice