My latest issue of Fine Cooking arrived the other day, and I was excited to see their “cooking without a recipe” feature on Thai curries. I love Thai food and their presentation made everything seem so simple!
You can try out the create-your-own feature here, and experiment with different flavors and ingredients. Here’s what I made:
Thai green curry with tofu and vegetables
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup green curry paste
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
3 stalks lemongrass, crushed
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 package tofu
3 cups total of: red bell pepper, bok choy, shitake mushrooms, snow peas, sliced onions
Salt to taste
Fresh Thai basil, cilantro and lime wedges for garnish
Green curry paste
Adapted from The Asian Vegan Kitchen by Hema Parekh
10 small green chilies, seeded and coarsely chopped
3 shallots, sliced
3 cloves garlic, halved
1.25 inch piece of ginger
2 stalks lemongrass, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon rind
1 ounce cilantro
10 black peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
To make the curry paste: Heat a dry skillet and toast the black pepper, coriander and cumin until browned and fragrant. Combine with all other ingredients in a food processor and blend until very smooth, adding the oil just toward the end.
Measure out 1/4 cup and reserve the rest. It will keep for about a month in your fridge and three months in the freezer.
And yeah, you can buy jars of premade curry paste, but where’s the fun in that?
To assemble the whole dish:
Shake the can of coconut milk, then simmer 1/2 cup of it in a large-ish saucepan until reduced by half. about 3-5 minutes. It will get very thick and shiny, may separate, or may not, whatevs.
Whisk in the curry paste for about a minute, then add the remaining coconut milk, broth, sugar, and soy sauce.
(Note: fish sauce, or nam pla, is the ingredient that gives Thai food its distinctive flavor, but it is not strictly vegetarian. There isn’t really any adequate substitute for it, but soy sauce will impart an “umami” flavor nonetheless).
Add the onions, ginger, lemongrass and lime zest and simmer for 2 minutes.
Add the tofu, peppers, snow peas and shitake mushrooms and simmer for 2 more minutes.
Add the bok choy and simmer for one more minute. Taste and adjust salt.
Serve over rice or noodles. Sooo good! I can’t wait to try this again with different ingredients.