Today my recipe is an easy thai curry, it’s a quick way to make a curry that’s got some of the signature flavours of Thai food but can be whipped up in a matter of minutes. It’s a vegetarian recipe you’ll find here today, however you can substitute chicken, fish or prawns for the tofu and still have a lovely, creamy, spicy Thai curry on your hands.
I remember my first ever genuine Thai curry, in a small cafe behind the Khaosan Road in Bangkok in the year 2000. I was amazed, I couldn’t believe what it tasted like. This was something new, something different, a way of using ingredients that set itself apart from any other cuisine I’d tried before. I fell in love with Thai food, something which is easy to do, becuase the use of chilli fire and coconut creaminess along with palm sugar sweetened high notes and sour kicks was quite mesmerising. To this day some of my favourite combinations of ingredients are from Thai cuisine, the moment garlic, fish sauce and lime juice are mixed together, I feel something happy go on inside my head.
Chasing the Flavour.
Once back in Blightly, I set about trying to recreate those flavours for myself. After a while I realised that good Thai curry requires one fundamental ingredient. Curry paste. Not the generic, off-the-shelf stuff in the supermarket, but your own, homemade curry paste. I can clearly remember the moment of ‘Hallelujah!’ about 10 years ago when I made my first batch of red curry paste. The exact point when I tasted the curry is etched into my mind as a moment of gastronomic joy, when the Thai curry in front of me suddenly lived up to the taste memory stored up from my trips to Thailand.
I had tried lots of other options previously, including various brands of shop bought paste from supermarkets and Asian specialist shops. Nothing quite hit the delicate balance of aromatic flavours which the homemade paste had. The only problem with making a curry paste is that you need to plan ahead. It doesn’t just happen, it requires some concerted bashing around in a large pestle and mortar. However, once you have the paste, you can whip up a truly fantastic Thai curry very quickly. You can even store the precious paste for a month or more in the fridge; you can even freeze it, however I’m convinced freezing dulls the flavour slightly.
Thai Curry… in a hurry.
I couldn’t resist 😀
When there’s no paste around, or time to make it, I cheat. This is not a truly authentic Thai curry, however it is a fantastic quick workaround that makes a really beautifully flavoured, easy Thai curry that is truly influenced by the lovely flavours that come from that country. This is a weeknight dish to make in those moments when your time is at a premium but you deserve something that tastes awesome.
The recipe involves making a paste of sorts, but using ingredients that are available at the supermarket or even corner shop if you happen to have a good one near you (there’s loads around here that sell these ingredients). It’s all quickly whizzed up in your blender, food processor or nutribullet, then chucked into the pan together and ready to eat in the same time it takes to cook the rice (well, roughly).
The secret to making this curry taste awesome is the wholesale use of coriander, along with those fundamental Thai ingredients, fish sauce, lime zest and juice, garlic and chilli. Just those few ingredients together smell like Thailand, and together make a surprisingly simple and tasty curry that has really solid Thai overtones. It’s also a great way to realise that you can make amazing tasting dishes without having to worry about being delicate. This is another dish that simply needs you to chuck it all in the pan and get it done. Enjoy!
Easy Thai Curry
By Gavin Wren
Serves 4 small or 2 large portions
Uses a saucepan and a blender or processor
1 tin coconut milk (400g)
2 Shallots, peeled and quartered
2 bird’s eye chillis, thinly sliced.
1 large bunch coriander (about 70g), including stalks, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
0.5 tablespoons ginger
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 lime, all the zest, juice of half.
400g tofu, cut into cubes (you can use chicken, fish or prawns)
200g sweet potato, skin on, cubed.
Plain cooked rice to serve
Place the coconut milk in a saucepan and heat until it comes to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium, then stir the paste into the coconut milk.
Add the tofu and sweet potato and bring to a simmer for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve with plain cooked rice