I am absolutely crazy for Thai food. In fact, anytime someone asks me what my favorite type of cuisine to eat, my Italian and Greek ancestors roll over in their graves as I declare “Southeast Asian” as my favorite.
This category includes food from countries like, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Phillipines and Indonesia.
There is something about the bright fresh flavors in cuisines of Southeast Asia that really excites me. Flavors like fresh lemongrass, ginger, garlic, shallot, coconut, chili, lime, and fish sauce are refreshing, big and bold ingredients that instantly transport you to another world.
One of my absolute favorite dishes to make and to eat is coconut curry. For me, it’s comfort food at it’s best. Spicy, creamy, tangy and warm, the flavors are explosive and warm my soul after the first bite.
I love the actual act of making the curry paste as well. Blending together an array of garlic, ginger, lemongrass, chili, and shallot and smelling the aromatic aroma that perfumes your kitchen is like a spiritual experience. Well, for me at least…I am an odd duck to say the least.
The wonderful thing about curry is that it is totally adjustable to fit your taste. You can add chicken, pork, shrimp, beef, tofu and/or an array of fresh vegetables and chilis. Another reason I love dishes from Southeast Asia is that a good majority of their diet is rice based making a lot of their food gluten free. Most dishes use fish sauce instead of soy sauce so it’s easier to find things to eat at restaurant etc. It’s always good to double check tho before ordering. Speaking of fish sauce don’t be afraid of it! It’s stinky, yes, but miraculously the fishiness disappears in dishes and acts like an incredible backbone to any food. It offers an earthy, umami flavor that I believe is irreplaceable.
If you have never made your own curry at home, now is the time. It will change the way you eat Thai food forever.
Thai Green Curry with Chicken and Veggies
- For the Soup:
- 1 ½ cans full fat Coconut Milk
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 4-5 tablespoons Green Curry Paste (recipe below)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 medium onion, peeled halved and cut into strips length wise.
- 1 bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
- 1 serrano chili, sliced (omit this if you don’t want it to be spicy)
- ½ cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 Japanese eggplant, sliced into ½” pieces (or ½ a regular eggplant cut into 1 inch cubes)
- 1/2 cup sliced bamboo shoots (you can find these in Asian section of super market. They come canned)
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs sliced into thin pieces or chunks.
- ¼ cup basil leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
Serve over brown or white rice or quinoa. Serve with cut fresh limes
Homemade Thai Green Curry Paste
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 1 shallot
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 inch piece of ginger (peeled and thinkly sliced)
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- ½ cup fresh basil
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 3 kaffir lime leaves (If you can’t find these then use zest of one lime)
- Add all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until it becomes a paste. This can also be done in a mortar and pestle. Freeze leftover curry paste, or it can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.
- In a large, deep skillet over medium heat place 2 tablespoons grape seed oil. Then add the onion, and bell pepper and sautee for 3 minutes to soften. Then add mushrooms, eggplant and chili (if you are using) and sautee 2-3 more minutes. Add the curry paste and sautee 2 more minutes so the flavors open up.
- Pour in the coconut milk and chicken broth. Lay the chicken pieces in the mixture to poach. Stir together and simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes.
- To serve squeeze fresh lime juice and shower with basil and cilantro.
- Serve over rice.