Fresh Chillis for the Win!
Turns out during isolation to avoid the life-sucking Covid-19, many things can happen. Good or bad, I think everyone I’ve spoken to went slightly balmy in about week five of lockdown. Sometimes you get to the know the worst and best of yourself when you have a lot of time to, well, hang out with yourself.
One of the unexpected things that happened to me? I got my cooking mojo back (more on what else happened over at Three Slow and Steady Recipies From Iso Life). I made some slow-cooked beauties, and some exceptional curry paste with fresh red chillis (which I didn’t actually know was a thing you could do, having always assumed they need to be dried). It wasn’t as posh and gorgeous as the Spirit House or our local Thai takeaway, but it was a damn good attempt.
Having totally flunked the last few attempts at making Thai curry at home, this was a winner at last. This time I DID NOT add an entire teaspoon of tamarind paste when you’re only meant to add a teaspoon of the tamarind watered down… I also did not over squeeze the lime juice so much near the end that the citrus kick slapped all the other good tastes out of our mouths. So here’s the unflunked, totally brilliant and delicious recipe. I actually found making one batch of this quantity only made two curries. So I’m estimating I threw about half a cup of paste in per batch. I make a few large batches of the curry (without the rice) and then freeze to be used for quick dinners during the week. It really depends on how strong you want the flavour and spice. I’d recommend start small and add more as you’re going if you’re unsure.
For a bigger kick, leave some of the chilli seeds in. I deseeded because I enjoy still being able to feel my lips at the end of a curry, but some prefer it hotter! We have chillis growing in the garden at the moment, but I don’t think they’re quite ready to be in time for this curry batch. Soon though…You can add any type of meat and/or vegetable to this dish as you wish. I find a mixture of all sorts of things from the vegetable drawer in the fridge always makes a pretty good curry. Eg carrot, cauliflower, zucchini, broccoli, capsicum, snow peas, onion, potato… If you have a basil plant you can add a few large leaves at the end for garnish.
- 5 tablespoons canola oil
- 6 fresh red chillis, deseeded and roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 red onion
- 2 thick slices of fresh galangal
- 1 thick slice of fresh ginger (optional)
- 2 fresh lemongrass stalks
- 2 kaffir lime leaves thinly sliced
- 10 black peppercorns
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander leaves dried or fresh coriander root chopped
- 1-2tsp fish sauce
Red Curry with Vegetables and/or Meat
- ½ cup curry paste (add more or less depending on your preference of spice and flavour)
- 1 tin coconut milk or cream
- 1-2 tsp fish sauce for saltiness
- 2 tbsp palm sugar for sweetness
- ½ fresh lime to squeeze for sourness
- Your choice of vegetables and/or meat. For example:
- 500g chicken thigh chopped
- 2 large sweet peppers green and red
- 1 bunch broccolini
- 2 x green shallots thickly chopped
- 2 small shallot onions thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- Blitz all the ingredients of the red curry paste until fairly smooth. If you would like more of a runny paste, add more oil. For a saltier flavour add more fish sauce (add gradually as too much saltiness is irreversible!).
- To make the curry, gently fry about ½ cup of the curry paste in a large saucepan for about 10 mins (there is a term for this, to release its fragrance or something. I just go with until I think it smells awesome and ready for the rest of the bits to be added!)
- Add coconut milk, some of the fish sauce, and the palm sugar. Be careful when adding fish sauce as you can’t undo the saltiness you add – if you’re unsure add about a teaspoon then add more at the very end if you prefer more saltiness. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer. At this point, you can check the flavour and add more curry paste if you wish.
- Add the chicken and cook for about 5 min.
- Add the vegetables all except for the green shallots, which can be added a few mins before the end.
- Cook until vegetables are slightly tender and the chicken is cooked through.
- Add a squeeze of lime juice to taste, and more fish sauce if required. Garnish with coriander or basil.
Serve with rice and enjoy!