Curry Paste–Not Just From a Can Anymore
Back in July, I took a cooking class at Thai Fresh here in Austin. I was excited to finally learn some of the secrets to Thai cooking so I could create the masterpieces in my own kitchen. While at Central Market last week, I happened to find kaffir limes–a key ingredient in many Thai dishes. I threw 3 limes in the bag along with some galangal–Thai cooking was on!
I made Thai Fresh’s Red Curry. The one ingredient that I did not find (but looked for) was the kaffir lime leaves. It’s About Thyme Garden Center does sell the plants, but I talked to the owner and he won’t have any to sell again until next April. Darn.
- 5 dried red peppers (The original recipe called for “large ones, soaked and de-seeded”. I didn’t really know what large ones referred to and I couldn’t remember from the class. I ended up soaking 3 guajillo peppers, but next time will use 5 as the curry was not spicy.)
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 7 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp galangal, chopped
- 1 tbsp lemongrass, chopped (Grew it in a pot!)
- 1 tsp kaffir lime zest
- 2 tsp cilantro stems, chopped
- 5 peppercorns
- 1 tsp salt
- Put all ingredients into a food processor until a paste is formed. Some water may be added if needed.
Red Curry Recipe
- Curry Paste you just made (or 1 can Mae Sri brand) red curry paste
- 2 13.5 oz cans coconut milk
- 1 1/4 cup water or stock
- 1 1/4 lbs meat, chopped into bite sized cubes (I used one block of firm tofu, cubed)
- 2 cups of butternut squash (or any firm veggie), cubed
- Fish sauce to taste (about 1/4 cup) (I can’t stress HOW important fish sauce is–I would NOT have made this dish without it!)
- Pinch of sugar (I used several pinches)
- 1 cup Thai basil (I didn’t have any–used cilantro to garnish)
- 4 kaffir lime leaves (Again, couldn’t find)
- Heat 1 cup coconut cream over medium heat (the creamy part is the top part of the canned coconut milk–do not shake the can).
- Stir in curry paste and turn down the heat.
- Simmer until fragrant and coconut cream starts to “crack some oil.”
- Add the rest of the coconut milk and water/stock and bring to boil.
- Add meat/tofu.
- When meat is cooked, added butternut squash (If using tofu, just add butternut squash when you add tofu.).
- Simmer until squash is fork-tender on medium-low heat.
- Add fish sauce 1 tbsp at a time to bring it to your desired taste.
- Add a pinch of sugar and taste. Add more if needed.
- Add Thai basil and kaffir lime leaves and turn off the heat after 10 seconds.
- Serve over rice.
All in all, I think it turned out really well, despite not having the kaffir lime leaves! Can’t wait till April to get my own tree!