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Thai Red Curry

July 15, 2009

thai curry
Thai food has long been one of my favorite cuisines. Early in my high school years, my family and I were lucky to host an exchange student from Bangkok (Hi Pam!) and when it came time for her to graduate, her father paid us a visit. Along with the usual items one might pack for a week-long journey overseas, he brought packaged spices and curry pastes–always come prepared, no? One night, after a trip to the local Stop & Shop to pick up some meats, fresh herbs and veggies, he graced our kitchen with the smells of curry and mint and chili and basil. We feasted on a salad of cold beef and mint, a few different curries and rice. Although the exact details are some what of a blur (8 years will do that, I suppose) the meal gave me an enthusiasm for Thai food that, needless to say, hasn’t faded.

In more recent years, after finding a few key ingredients at the supermarket in Chinatown, I’ve started making Thai curries frequently at home. This dish, like many others that become staples in my weekly repertoire, is easily varied to suit what’s rattling around in the bottom of the vegetable bin. Although I use red curry paste in this version, (hence the Thai Red Curry) other types, such as green, panang and masaman, are great options as well. The fish sauce or nam pla is also indispensable…A little goes a long way, but its crucial in getting this curry close to your favorite Thai take-out version.

The following is written as a basic equation for a Thai Curry of your own creation. Shown below (and above, at the top pf the page) is one of my favorite combinations–chicken (leftover from a roast), red pepper and mango, garnished with some fresh chopped mint. When going the green curry route, I’ve been known to use beef, eggplant, bamboo shoots, and a medley of green veggies I’ve got kicking around. Let your imagination (or the take out menu from your local Thai restaurant) be your guide.
in the wok
Thai Red Curry

Heat a tablespoon or so of a neutral oil (canola or peanut work well) in a wok or large skillet until very hot. Stir fry your choice of…

thinly sliced meat (chicken, pork, beef, etc.)
seafood (shrimp, scallops, etc.)

…until just cooked. Don’t overdo it–the meat/fish/tofu will return to the hot curry later. Remove from the wok and set aside. If you wish a purely vegetable curry, or have some leftover meat on hand, skip the above step and proceed as follows.

Add a bit more oil to the skillet and stir fry the chopped veggies of your choice. These may include, but are not limited to:

thinly sliced onions (highly recommended)
sliced bell peppers
eggplant (1/2 inch dice works well)
green beans
broccoli florets

Once the veggies have begun to soften, add a couple cloves worth of minced garlic and a good size knob of fresh grated ginger and cook briefly. Now its time to add about a tablespoon of curry paste. Different brands/types of curry are more potent than others, so adjust to your taste. Cook, stirring frequently until the curry becomes fragrant and coats the veggies. Next, add one 14 oz. can of coconut milk and 1-2 tablespoons of thai fish sauce. If desired add:

frozen mango chunks
frozen peas (or other frozen veggies)
bamboo shoots
chopped basil (thai if available)

Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce has thickened slightly and frozen ingredients (if using) have warmed through. Just before serving, add the meat/fish/tofu (just stir-fried or leftover) to the wok and continue simmering until it has also warmed through. Remove from the heat and serve over rice. Garnish with chopped basil or mint and coarsely chopped peanuts.

Serves 2-4.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Pam Simargool permalink
    August 21, 2009 3:39 am

    ooohhh YUM!! (*w*)/

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