Saturday, 17 February 2007

Thai Red Chicken and Bamboo Shoot Curry... slightly improvised

I didn't have all the ingredients necessary for this, so a little improvisation was necessary. I could have just used one of the few Thai Red Curry pastes available in Sainsbury's, but that seemed like cheating, and after reading that people in Thailand will probably make a different Curry Paste every day, I thought that maybe a little variance over the recipes I had read would at least make it authentically mine, if not authentically Thai.

The main missing ingredients were the Fermented Shrimp Paste, Kaffir Lime and Palm Sugar, plus one or two recipes talked about putting Sweet Basil in there, but I couldn't even find any Fresh Basil, let alone Fresh Sweet Basil, so that was also left out. It was still very tasty, and nice and hot (good for the metabolism apparently), and with leftover Curry Paste in case my sister fancies cooking it again in the next month, although I'm not holding my breath on that one.

Once again, photography was courtesy of my sister's excellent camera, although, as she was too busy fighting with her computer, I took the photos, so they're not quite the same quality than had she taken them for me.

Recipe for the Red Curry Paste

  • About 45 Dried Red Chillies, seeds and all
  • 2 sticks of Lemon Grass, chopped fine
  • 8 cloves of Garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon Galanga
  • 1 tablespoon of Fish Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • Quarter teaspoon of Ground Turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Coriander Stalks, chopped fine (should be roots, but a couple of recipes mentioned that you could get away with the white part of the stalks, so in they went).
  • 1 tablespoon Coriander Seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds, toasted
  • 5 White Pepper Corns, toasted and crushed
  • Zest of a Lime (preferably a Kaffir Lime)

Put all the above ingredients into a blender, and blend to a paste. If too dry, add a little water. Looking at the quantity made, I'd say you could probably get 2 curries out of this, or a pretty large one. Ideally, there should have been 1-2 teaspoons of Fermented Shrimp Paste in this, but again, I didn't have any.

Recipe for the Curry (served 2)

  • 375g Chicken Breast, cubed
  • 2 heaped tablespoons Red Curry Paste
  • 1 can of Coconut Milk
  • 1 small can Bamboo Shoots
  • 1 Red Pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar (should have been Palm Sugar)
  • Zest of a Lime

Put a little oil in a large pan and fry the Curry Paste for about a minute, then add half the Coconut Milk and bring to the boil, mixing the Paste into it. Some oil will probably form on the top which you can skim off and discard. Then add the Chicken and cook for about 5 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients and the rest of the Coconut. Continue to cook on a high simmer until everything is cooked and the sauce has reduced to your liking. Served with Thai Jasmin Rice.

I definitely need to spend some time getting more of the correct ingredients before trying this again, but it was still a pretty good success (there were no leftovers, other than the spare Curry Paste, enough to make the same meal again). Also, if you have the Curry Paste prepared beforehand, it's fairly quick to make.


Scott at Real Epicurean said...

Every recipe should be improvised slightly - it's giving your own feel to the dish, your own identity...

Having said that, disasters can be made by modifying any baking recipes, since the ingredients have to be just right!

Freya said...

45 Red Chillis! The curry looks delicious though! I always end improvising my curries, as Scott says, it gives them your own identity!

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