Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thai green & red curries

Dear foodies,

I started off this month by preparing the fresh curry pastes and I am ending it now by using them in these splendid curries. I made three pastes with the limited amount of lemon grass I had - Red curry, Green curry and penang curry paste, all three based on the recipes on the Jugalbandit's blog. I had underestimated the potency of the home made pastes since I already loved the results from the store bought ones. Not any more, I am wiser now! Homemade pastes are very fragrant and you can smell the freshness they add to the dishes. And they surely are healthier since you get to control and customize the ingredients that go into them. Spend a couple of hours laboring over them and they will serve you for many many meals. So if the numerous posts that spring up on blogs this month hasn't yet tempted you into trying them, I urge you yet again :)

Thai red curry - Namprik Gaeng Daeng
While making the curry pastes the substitutions I made were - Indian red chillies for the New mexico chillies; lime zest for kaffir lime leaves and miso paste for the fermented bean curd; tender coriander stems for coriander roots. I was lucky to find frozen stalks of lemon grass and galangal root. You could substitute the former with additional lime juice and latter with ginger and lime zest/juice. Since I had just 4 stalks of lemon grass I made almost 1/3 portions of all three recipes so I could try the different flavor combinations.
For most thai curries, you start by cooking the paste in oil for a couple of minutes to cook out the rawness. Coconut milk along with the protein and veggies go in next based on their cooking time, the longest going in first. Soy sauce and palm sugar/jaggery are added to taste later on. Finally add in some freshly torn basil leaves for garnish and an additional boost of flavor. Serve with cooked thai jasmine rice. Kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass stalks can be simmered along with the rest of the ingredients, if available, to up the flavors a little more.
I made both of these curries on the same night so I had nearly the same set of veggies in both the curries, only the ratio of ingredients varied. For the red curry I used more of green bell peppers and the carrots, broccoli, snow peas, baby corn, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, mung bean sprouts and green bell pepper in relatively lesser quantities. My red curry paste was a lot milder, it could have been due to the chillies I used. So next time I might double to number of chillies if I use the ones I have at home. I did not get the signature deep red color (like the store bought one in the header has) either, it probably also got diluted in the curry since I used lite coconut milk. (Red curry paste recipe)

Thai green curry - Gaeng Keow Wan
The green curry, which was spicier of the two, got the bulk of the red bell pepper & carrots for sweetness. I added tofu (extra firm) only to the red curry, but you could use it in either of them. When I am better planned, I also coat the tofu chunks with a little oil and broil them in the oven for 5-6 mins turning them once in between so they brown on all sides. This helps them hold their shape and also adds a little texture to them. (Green curry paste recipe)

And jasmine rice is a perfect accompaniment to these fragrant curries, its the only one that can give any kind of competition to the potent curry pastes :)) You could surely pair these with the nutty brown rice too. Both, my brother and I, liked the green curry more since the flavors were more pronounced in it. I might add red pepper flakes while using my red curry paste the next time I use it. As you can see, the robust curry pastes can carry many vegetables with ease and make them enjoyable, and even addictive! I have enough of each curry paste to last me 3-4 more meals, so I am a happy camper :) Give them a try and let me know how you like them, these will go into the IAVW-Thai treasure chest.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, I will be doing the round-up over the weekend, and so if you have any recipes lined up, send them to me by Saturday night. Non-bloggers are welcome to send in entries too, I will try and post your recipes before I do the round-up post with due credit for your efforts :) The fabulous round-up is coming up next, so be sure to come back, have a splendid weekend until then!


Oooh! and my entry to Click -Spring/Autumn
Diced melon, mango & strawberries doused in yogurt-maple syrup-lemon zest dressing.

24 thoughts:

bee said...

Excellent pics of the curry pastes. Very hard to make pastes look appetizing!

Going to post Mussaman paste soon. you'll love that one too.

-Jai

arundati said...

fantastic pictures!! absolutely stunning!!

Sonu said...

Beautiful pics as usual. Even I didn't get the same red color in my home made Red curry paste but taste was great. :)

Parita said...

Beautiful pictures priya...simple out standing..the curry paste looks delicious..you have inspired me to make my own :)

Jaya said...

Love your dishes.. They make the yummy food look even more appetizing! And the dessert - slurp slurp!

Anonymous said...

My God! superb photos! i visit ur blog mainly to admire ur photography. well done priya keep it up!

Prathibha said...

Lovely pics and posts priya..Loved ur serving bowls specially..

Ramya Vijaykumar said...

Wow all Thai and I am drooling here, excellent pics... Sounds like a feast to me :)

Pavani said...

delicious lookind Thai curries.. Broiling tofu before adding to the curry is a great tip, otherwise it tends to break while cooking. I like the curries with brown rice. Pics are mouth watering. Have a great weekend.

Soma said...

The pastes look awesome!! I love your cute little servewares, so unique. why didn't i take a picture of my massaman paste?
the curry looks so comforting.

all your pictures have a beautiful peace in them.. i don't know how to explain:D

Vishali said...

woo....love the green and red curries and the snaps as well...:). Great going girl!

Priya said...

Jai, thank you :) I am going to get my hands on some more lemon grass asap then :)

Arundati, thank you so much :)

Sonu, yaa, the taste was good, so the color does not really matter I guess :)

Parita, yayyy! oen down :D Do make them at home Parita, it's really hard to not like them.

Jaya, they were too cute to resist at the store. and that plate of fruit was my brunch a few weekends back :))

Priya said...

Anon, thank you soo much for dropping by and the boost of encouragement that your words give me :)

Prathibha, hmmmmm, I wish I could take credit for the bowls too then :-P

Ramya, yes it was! And quick to put together too, well, prepping the veggies is the only time consuming step I think. I am already excited about using the rest of the pastes in various other dishes.

Pavani, brown rice is most often my choice too. The first time I made thai curry, I hated how the tofu crumbled into the whole sauce. So I usually broil them, and like the taste that way too. I eat quite a few before they get to the pan :D

Soma, that must be the best compliment I've ever got! >>:D<< I can't tell you how happy that makes me :)Thank you!
lol @ the mussaman paste photo.

Vishali, thank you soo much :)

Shreya said...

Wow Priya! What amazing pics! Love the red and green curry pastes. Will try and make the red one for sure:-)

Superchef said...

excellent pics!!

i love homemade curry pastes too..once ive had them it is very difficult to go back to store bought pastes! :)

Divya Vikram said...

Enthralled by your pics! This post has urged me to venture into Thai cuisine. Let me see what i can tyr. You have loads of thai recipes here!

Pooja said...

Pretty, pretty, my dear.

Nags said...

Your pics are so awesome! And that fruit plate looks too yummy for words!

Vaishali said...

Priya, What a fabulous finish to a month of delicious recipes. Your curries look out of the world. And you're right-- the storebought pastes, although good, just don't compare to the ones made at home. When I make curry pastes, I can't help but hold the blender up to my nose and inhale it every now and then as I cook, because the fragrance-- to me-- is intoxicating.
Plus one reason I started making my pastes at home was because the storebought ones contain non-veg ingredients like fish sauce. I have to try the ones at Jugalbandi next.

soums said...

The usual...U recipes are amazing...trying them today :)

A_and_N said...

Ya its tough to get that red colour in the pastes. I've never got that.

And the pics are gorgeous man!

Hamster said...

Here's a good Thai cooking site with some recipes for curry
www.thaifoodtonight.comIt's got about 30 recipes each one with a cooking video to go along.

Miri said...

You have cracked it now I think - the Thai expert is what we will be calling you from now on! :)

The pics are suberb too!

marriedtoadesi.com said...

Beautiful Pictures Priya!!! Was sooo wonderful running into you at the festival again this year! I love Thai red and green curries! My favorite!!

Kanchana

Blogging tips