I don’t know what is up with me these days, but I am on a Thai food cooking streak! And I am overjoyed! It is just SO fun to discover something new to cook. I had a *disastrous* stint with Thai cooking after college and have been too scared to try it since. I’m not sure what drove me back to it, particularly because there is such an abundance of Thai restaurants in Chicago, but I’m happy to found some workable home made versions of my Thai food favorites. Here’s a rough formula for a quick and easy green curry.
1 1/2 tbsp. green curry paste
1 14 oz. can coconut milk (I use the reduced fat kind)
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp. palm sugar (brown sugar is also fine)
2 1/2 tbsp. fish sauce
4 oz. chicken/shrimp
1 cup vegetables of your choosing, cut in similar sizes
1/4 cup thai basil
1. In large pot, stir-fry green curry paste over medium heat for 1 minute or until fragrant. Slowly add in coconut milk. Once well blended add in water. I use this green curry paste:
I’ve shopped around and tried several but think this tastes the most “authentic.” It’s readily available at most Asian markets and is much cheaper and more potent than the stuff they sell at the American supermarkets. Because this stuff packs a serious punch, I’ve found (through painful trial and error) that 1.5 tbsp. is more than sufficient.
2. Once pot has reached gentle simmer, add palm sugar and fish sauce. Stir and adjust seasonings to taste. (I prefer a salty curry over an overly sweet one, so I tend to add fish sauce if I find the seasoning lacking.) My measurements are approximate, based on the products and brands I use. Thai ingredients do not follow standard measures so depending on the potency of your ingredients you may need to add more or scale back.
3. Return to simmer and add chicken if using. Cook for a few minutes until chicken is partially cooked through. (Sorry, does this picture of raw chicken gross you out? I was just fascinated by how shiny it looked through my new 50 mm lens. :))
4. Add your vegetables. For this version, I used a colorful assortment of local veggies from the farmers market: red pepper, zucchini, summer squash, and Japanese eggplant. It’s really important that you cut the vegetables a similar size so that they cook in about the same amount of time. If you have a vegetable that takes longer to cook you may want to add that first and then later add whatever takes less time to cook. Cover pot and let vegetables simmer gently. This will only take a few minutes. You want the vegetables to still have a tiny bit of bite in them.
5. Just before vegetables are cooked through, add basil and shrimp (if using) and cook a few minutes more.
6. Serve with jasmine rice and enjoy. Recipe yields approximately 4 servings.