From cooking in Thailand, I learnt two things. Firstly, always cook with emotion. You know what you like, so have fun and taste your food as you go so you can adjust accordingly. Secondly, always buy fresh and local. Thai people always buy on the day and never for a whole week of cooking to ensure the food is far from preservatives which keeps it fresh and fragrant.

A few notes before we begin

  • The method of making both the curry paste and the curry dish are the same for red and green curry.
  • Green curry is traditionally more spicy and fragrant than red curry as it uses fresh chilies rather than dried ones.
  • If you don’t have a mortar, or are short on time, you can use a food processor instead but it won’t release as much flavour as making it by hand!
  • If you can’t find the ingredients whole, use powder instead. 
  • Add chilli powder for more spice, sugar for more sweetness and fish sauce for more saltiness. 
  • Never buy a pre-made curry paste unless you’re short on time; they’re full of sugar!
  • Making the paste uses a lot of arm muscle, so consider making this as excersise for the day…winning!
  • This recipe is for 1-2 people so just double or triple if you’re cooking for a group.

Ingredients

Red Curry

For the paste

  • 10 g galangal 
  • Kaffir lime skin (1 peeled slice is enough) 
  • 10 g turmeric 
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed 
  • 2 peeled garlic cloves
  • 2 shallots 
  • 100 g dried large chillies chopped 
  • 10 g ginseng 
  • 1 lemongrass stalk

For the curry

  • 2 kaffir leaves torn into 4 pieces
  • 4 Thai sweet basil leaves torn from stem – disregard the stem
  • 1 teaspoon of palm sugar (brown sugar can be used as an alternative) 
  • 2 teaspoons of fish sauce
  • 150 ml of coconut milk

Green Curry

For the paste

  • 10 g galangal 
  • Kaffir lime skim (1 peeled slice is enough)
  • 10 g turmeric 
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander seed 
  • 2 peeled garlic cloves 
  • 2 shallots 
  • 7-10 small green chillies 
  • 10 g ginseng 
  • 1 lemongrass stalk

For the curry

  • 1-2 eggplants cut into bite size pieces and leave to soak in a bowl of water whilst prepping (find these in a Chinese supermarket or use aubergine/courgette as an alternative)
  • 1 chicken breast cut thinly (this can be substituted for tofu or beef)
  • 2 kaffir leaves torn into 4 pieces
  • 4 Thai sweet basil leaves torn from stem – disregard the stem
  • 1 teaspoon of palm sugar (brown sugar can be used as an alternative) 
  • 2 teaspoons of fish sauce
  • 150 ml of coconut milk

Curry Paste Recipe

  1. Pour the chopped chillies and garlic into a mortar and start to grind until the skin of the chilli has turned to a paste. 

  2. Smash the lemongrass stalk to release the flavour, then cut into four pieces and add to mortar and pound down.

  3. Chop remaining ingredients finely and add to mortar one by one, pounding into until you reach a smooth and consistent paste.

Curry Recipe

  1. Boil 2 cooking spoons of coconut milk over high heat until it starts to bubble.

  2. Add 1 tablespoon of curry paste (use more if you prefer it spicy) and stir until you can smell the fragrance. 

  3. Add chicken and cook until it’s white.

  4. Add the remainder of the coconut milk and bring to a boil. 

  5. Add the vegetables, palm sugar and fish sauce.

  6. Stir well and then leave to boil for 1 minute over high heat.

  7. Remove from heat and serve with rice.

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