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 :)
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)
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