A recipe for Thai Green Prawn Curry that shouldn’t jar with you.

Thai Green Curry (13 of 13)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.

Thai Green Curry (1 of 13)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.

The lemongrass gives off a fantastic aroma that you can not get from a jar. Guaranteed.

The lemongrass gives off a fantastic aroma that you can not get from a jar. Guaranteed.

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.

The cumin seeds get fried until fragrant and dark brown.

The cumin seeds get fried until fragrant and dark brown.

Place them in a mortar and pestle them until they are a fine aromatic powder.

I love this bit. The seeds give off a really beautiful aroma. Also not possible from a jar of sludge.

I love this bit. The seeds give off a really beautiful aroma. Also not possible from a jar of sludge.

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.

Shove it all in and hit the loud button.

Shove it all in and hit the loud button.

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.

Pow! The aroma hit will nock you back. Neighbours may call to see what you are cooking.

Pow! The aroma hit will knock you back. Neighbours may call to see what you are cooking.

Add the green beans. Stir them around for a couple of minutes. I like them al denté.

The beans take longer to cook than the prawns. Best to get them done before adding the rest of the coconut milk.

The beans take longer to cook than the prawns. Best to get them done before adding the rest of the coconut milk.

Add the balance of the coconut milk and bring to the boil.

The milk adds creaminess and lovely texture to the dish.

The milk adds creaminess and lovely texture to the dish.

Next add the prawns. They will need only about two or three minutes cooking.

Don't overcook the prawns. They will end up like bullets if you do.

Don’t overcook the prawns. They will end up like bullets if you do.

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?

This is best accompanied with a nice cold beer. Wine would be a challenge .

This is best accompanied with a nice cold beer. Wine would be a challenge.

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. 

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  • Excellent – it’s much fresher, authentic and you get rid of the additional preservatives they stick in a jar 🙂

    • There is no comparison MD. Though I am guilty of using some jar stuff when doing some of the more complex Chinese dishes. That is needs must though.

      • Shhh – don’t tell anyone 😉

  • I confess, I am guilty of green commercial sludge… I am waiting for chillies and lemongrass to become better established in my back yard. I already have Vietnamese mint and coriander, both of which love the climate here. By the way, sir, you *should* put an L in *shoudn’t*… sorry. Can’t keep the proof-reader in me down.

    • Dear goodness! In the headline. I am mortified. I am also jealous of you growing chilis and lemongrass in your back yard. No excuse for you to be using the jars.

      • Well thank God that typo got fixed, otherwise I would have trembled at the thought of a typo in your blog, much like I would have without a decent pouring shot.
        p.s (What a vibrant, flavorful dish! I am all for it, but hubby hates curry. Probably due to that canned crappy shit the the restaurants use.)

        • I think you are just right on the sauce. You might want to start going to different restaurants or get rid of the hubby. The typo was in the headline! How could I let that go?….

  • I agree with you when it comes to making curry pastes from scratch, whether they’re Thai or Indian. They taste infinitely better and once the fiddly bit of all the chopping is done, the rest of the recipe is usually very quick and easy. It’s a no-brainer.

    • Thanks Linda, I know that my Indian ventures tend to be way, way better than most one gets served in restaurants. Maybe I’m going to the wrong restaurants?

      • No, sadly there are just a lot of very poor restaurants (and some very good ones of course).

  • Looks beautiful Conor!
    I completely agree with you on the pastes! They are so easy to make and make such a difference to the taste. My favourite curry recipe is the one I have for Beef Rendang which I made for friends one night. One went home to replicate it but “it didn’t taste right”. That was because she skipped half of the ingredients and used a shop bought paste.
    Re red curry, I’ve been using Jamie’s recipe from his 30 minute meals for years and it’s had no complaints yet.

    • I will have to review, adapt and claim as my own. I would love to give a red one a go but, the Wife is a wimp when it comes to the very hot stuff.
      BTW, I cooked a chili on Sunday and my Mum described it as making her eyelids sweat.

      • It’s not a very hot curry, I add a few extra bits of chilli on top for myself.

        That wouldn’t have been your ‘Man’s Chili’ that you served to your poor mother would it? 🙂

  • Thank you. Even without finding lemongrass or green chilies this paste recipe will be a wonderful replacement to overpriced, bottled sauces.

    • Too true. Though the lemongrass adds a lovely heady note and the chili really brings it up a notch or two…

  • Funny man, thank you.

  • Great to resurface to see a favourite of mine Conor. I’m a huge fan of all things Thai (or anything food- wise in that general area of the world to be honest) – such flavour contrasts. Thankfully these ingredients are so readily available now – try getting them 20 years ago though!

    • Thanks Phil,
      Great to see you back. Lemongrass was pretty well unheard of back then. We are lucky.

  • I’ll admit I do posts with the paste. But I’ve done from scratch as well. Depends what I have going on. I like this green curry and will have to try it.

    • I admire your honesty Virginia, if not the use of the paste. Do give this a whirl.

      • Though I don’t rely just on the paste. It’s usually one of many I throw in. So maybe just half lazy? 🙂

  • Well now I have another use for fish sauce other than kimchi. This seems doable. Just so long as you don’t shame me over buying pre-made puff pastry. 😀

    • I used some last weekend and will post the result soon. Shhhhh….

  • Preach! (You are so right. And that looks delicious.)

    • Thanks Michelle. I enjoy a good preach.

  • Looks delicious and I bet it is….on the other hand I have never seen the vice in laziness in cooking 🙂

    • I’m all in favour of a bit of vice. But the flavours make this incorruptible.

  • Gotta say we can get ‘excellent’ ‘sludge’ …

    • Nothing like making it up Mr F. Try it and be converted.
      Best,
      Conor

  • You are so right about freshly made green curry, Conor, it makes all the difference! I was amazed how easy (as you say, all you need is a blender) and how good this was.
    If you can find them, try using thai shrimp paste, galangal instead of ginger and coriander root instead of coriander leaves and stalks. According to Miranti, my Thai cooking muse, this will make it more authentic. It certainly is delicious.

    You are looking for a recipe for Thai red curry? Thai fish cakes are amazing: http://stefangourmet.com/2014/04/25/thai-fish-cakes-tod-mun-pla/
    Or this stir fry with chicken (without coconut milk): http://stefangourmet.com/2015/07/09/thai-chicken-and-eggplant-stir-fried-with-red-curry-pad-phed-gai/
    Or if you do want something with coconut milk, how about a red curry with pork belly sous-vide? http://stefangourmet.com/2015/07/19/thai-panang-curry-pork-belly-sous-vide/

    • That little lot will keep me occupied into the new year. Comprehensive and thoughtful as ever.

  • This looks amazing! Love the instructions on how to make the curry sauce from scratch… cannot wait to try this in my kitchen.

    • It is really simple and delicious. Please try and let me know how it goes.
      Best,
      Conor

  • Winner in my book, even if my hubby pooh-poohs curries. XO

    • Thanks indeed for that Kathryn, the hubby might come around to the side of light if you tried this on him.

  • I can’t do green curry in restaurants, Conor, because it’s just too hot for me. I taste all this wonderful aromatic food and then bam! Five mouthfuls in, every tastebud is on fire, and it’s good luck Shirley. I thought green was the hottest, followed by red. Am I wrong, or an idiot on a bender?

    • The latter, I’m afraid. I will have to cook it for you. You can bring that minder who goes around with you too. I will be planning a date soon. Though the food is to be planed. I take it ye are game?

      • Oh good grief yes. Ten thousand times yes. Minder is working away from home but from end November will be back on full-time domestic duty. You are an extraordinarily nice person for your industry. Do your colleagues know?

        • This is perfect. I now have time to plot a menu and other guests of appropriate unhingedeness (my word). I will revert through more private channels to prevent a “house trashed in Facebook party shocker” type situation arising.

          • I love the way you plot your menus. Much more socially acceptable than plotting world domination, which is something I’m thinking of giving up for Lent. I’ll stay unhinged before that though, I promise.

          • Stay unhinged and hungry!

  • I will definitely put down the jar. Simple but anything but lazy. Very authentic! The chopping is worth it, so fresh and flavorful sounding, can’t wait to try for a special occasion.

    • You will neither regret it nor ever return to the jar. Guaranteed.

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