I love cooking and I like to think that given good ingredients, reliable equipment and a little extra time I could manage to make most things to an edible quality. Apart from Thai curry, my delicately balanced nemesis.
With Joe Silva
Joe is my friend Lindsay's husband and man did she catch herself a good one! Not only is Joe an accomplished ex-chef but he's an incredibly talented musician. (He whipped this delicious dinner up then played us some Bach on the guitar!)
I always make it too spicy or too bland, it never hits the happy spot in the middle and that's more than likely because i'm relying on pre-made pastes rather than making from scratch.
So I asked Joe if he would help me learn how to make it.
Joe's Thai Green Vegetable Curry
For the paste (makes 6-8 portions)
Coriander seeds 2tbsp
Cumin seeds 1tbsp
Garlic 6 cloves
Thai basil, a large handful
Coriander (stalks and all) one handful
Star anise 1tsp
Shrimp powder (or fish sauce) 1tsp
White pepper 1tsp
Green chillies (deseeded) 8 (less if this sounds too spicy)
Lemongrass 2-3 stalks
Kaffir lime leaves 6
Lime zest and juice of 2 limes
Traditionally the curry paste would be made by mashing the above ingredients with a pestle and mortar. However since this is rather time consuming, and not to mention tiring I tend to opt for using a blender instead. So, blend all the above ingredients with a dash of oil until the have reached a smooth(ish) and even consistency. And then set the curry paste aside for later.
This time we went with tofu, aubergine, baby sweetcorn mangetout and lots of pac choi. Browning the ingredients is key to getting the most flavour out of them. To this end I used a wok to help speed up the process, browning the tofu, aubergine, sweetcorn and mangetout.
Pre - heat a pan, and then add the curry paste. Cook for a few minutes stirring occasionally to ensure the paste does not burn. Add the vegetables to the paste and cook for a few more minutes. Then add the coconut milk and stir through until it reaches an even consistency. Cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked (particularly the aubergine) but not so much that the pac choi is no longer crunchy.
Then serve with rice and enjoy your hard work.
'I have always felt that in teaching others we clarify our own thoughts and understanding of a subject. I never cease to be amazed that when explaining an idea to someone else I realise that I have never put my own thoughts on a subject into words before and that once its all laid out the gaps become more noticeable. Also, when teaching we are exposed to perspectives others than our own. Apart from helping us relate to others, it frequently unearths that which we take for granted and forces us to recognise where we have accepted facts without questioning them or asking why.' Joe.