I get mad when I see recipes that include “ingredients” that really should be made up, from scratch, by the cook, to get a half decent result. When researching Thai Green Curry, I got depressed to see the BBC (UK state broadcaster), RTE (Irish state broadcaster), Bord Bia (Irish Food Board) and a raft of other popular (more popular than this) websites promoting recipes that call for a measure or two of ‘Green Curry Paste’ as part of authentic Thai curry recipes. Without a recipe for the paste, we have to assume they mean from a jar. This is not cooking. This is culinary laziness and will lead to ineptitude in your kitchen if you swing with it. If you are happy to slop some manufactured sludge from a jar into your home cooking, go for it. But, if you want to prepare a delicious, tasty, easy, Thai Green Curry, read on my friends, read on…..
The ingredients list for this is not very long. But the flavour hit is fantastic and any idiot with a blender can make it up in no time. Not that I am calling you an idiot. Even if you do own a blender.
Ingredients for my Thai Green Curry to serve two hungry people:
- 16 to 20 raw prawns, shelled, and deveined.
- 2 shallots
- 2 stalks of lemongrass
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 3 green chilis
- 3cm piece of fresh ginger
- Zest and juice of a lime
- 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
- Half a teaspoon of white pepper
- A big handful of basil leaves
- A big handful of coriander leaves and stalks (lots of flavour in the stalks)
- A tin of coconut milk
- About as much volume of green beans as you have prawns
- A tablespoon of cooking oil
First you will need to do a bit of chopping. Chop up the garlic, ginger, shallots, the white bit of the lemongrass (having discarded the tough outer skin and hard end bit). Leave the chilis until last. That way, you stand less chance of getting chili in your eyes or on other sensitive bits of your anatomy.
Next, fry the coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a dry pan until very fragrant. Do them separately as they may cook at different rates.
Place them in a mortar and pestle them until they are a fine aromatic powder.
Then zest the lime. Squeeze the juice of the lime into your blender. Add the zest, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, shallots, chilis, coriander seeds, cumin, coriander leaves, basil leaves, white pepper, fish sauce and a tablespoon of the coconut milk.
This is your Thai Green Curry Paste. It will give off a wonderful, fresh, vibrant aroma. The good news is you will have enough to cook this dish twice and it will keep in the fridge, for a few days, at least. Top, tail and half the green beans. Add the cooking oil to a wok or large pot. Add half the curry paste. Stir until it gets highly aromatic.
Add the green beans. Stir them around for a couple of minutes. I like them al denté.
Add the balance of the coconut milk and bring to the boil.
Next add the prawns. They will need only about two or three minutes cooking.
Serve this delicious curry with Thai fragrant rice. Sprinkle a few coriander leaves to reflect the authenticity of your efforts. You will never again think of using a jar of green curry sludge type paste. Now, I must try a Thai red curry. Have you a decent recipe?
Footnote on authenticity: If you think I am taking shortcuts by using tinned coconut milk, read this recipe where I make it fresh from coconuts. In truth, the milk from the coconuts is better but, I fear I may be asking too much of you to do it that way.