Because of Mothers Day, Alexander and I were on our own for Sunday Dinner this Sunday. As we were going to an early movie, we had a quick bowl of curry before heading off.
I love making meals from scratch. Making the curry paste for a curry makes such a difference – it tastes so much fresher. This curry paste is from Spirit House – Thai Cooking by Helen Brierty and Annette Fear which I was given to me by my dad and step-mother for Christmas 2004. Once made, I freeze it in 3-4 tablespoon lots until needed. Before Mim headed back to uni in Melbourne, she took a few “packets” of green curry paste with her so she could create some instant meals. When both kids were living at home and I was working full time, recipes like this came in handy. I could walk through the door and have a great meal on the table within 40 minutes.
This Sunday I made the curry using 8 organic chicken drumsticks instead of chicken breast or thigh. I find the sauce makes enough for at least 650 grams of breast or thigh. I also added some pumpkin, just because I love the taste of it in curries. As I accidentally left Thai basil off the shopping list, I scattered some coriander over the curry instead. Thai basil does add something though, if you remember to buy it.
This curry paste is not particularly hot – in fact I use 16 chillies in the paste and 4 tablespoons of paste in the curry. It is very fragrant though, and delicious! My mortar is not very big so I pound the peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and salt then transfer the mixture to the food processor. Not perfect but it does the job.
Spirit House Green Curry Paste
Makes approximately 2 cups
20 white peppercorns
2 tablespoons coriander seeds, roasted
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, roasted
2 teaspoons salt
15 green chillies, seeded and chopped
2 small red onions, finely chopped
12 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons lemongrass, finely chopped
2 teaspoons chopped galangal
4 teaspoons chopped coriender root
2 teaspoons chopped kaffir line leaf
4 teaspoons shrimp paste, roasted*
Roast the coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a frying pan over gentle heat until fragrant. In a mortar and pestle, pound the peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and salt together. Add remaining ingredients one at a time and pound to a smooth paste. Store in a tightly sealed glass jar in the refrigerator. Keeps for 2-3 weeks.
*wrap the shrimp paste in foil and roast in the oven (or in a hooded barbeque) at about 180C until pungent.
Spirit House Green Chicken Curry
2 cups coconut cream
3-4 tablespoons green curry paste
1 tablespoon palm sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
500 g chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons tamarind water**
1 cup Thai basil leaves
In a wok, heat 1/2 cup of coconut cream, add curry paste and cook until fragrant (about 5 mins). Add sugar and fish sauce and cook a further few minutes, adding a little more coconut cream if necessary. Stir in the chicken, tamarind water and remaining coconut cream. Bring to boil then reduce to simmer. Cook until the chicken is tender, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the basil leaves. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.
** to make tamarind water, place 1 tablespoon of tamarind pulp in a bowl, pour over 1/2 cup of boiling water and leave to cool. Mash pulp with a fork and stain the liquid through a sieve, retaining the liquid. Discard the tamarind seeds and skins.