It was mentioned in Paleo Talk 14 that I would finally get around to documenting and posting one of my food items. The first one I decided on is curry. Much of the information and ingredients are similar to Sarah’s green curry. We differ in a few of the prep steps and brands used so this will add another angle on how to make a super easy meal. I call this Red or Green because the steps are pretty much the same no matter which paste you have. The Red is spicier and has more chili and shrimp aroma. The Green is crisper and refreshing with strong Kaffir lime flavor.
I like to have my workspace set and items prepped before anything goes in the pan. Having your workspace set and things generally tidy before you begin is a good habit to get in to. This also cuts the risk of cross-contamination – remember folks, safety never takes a holiday!
Thai Curry (Red or Green)
Wok or large cooking device. Hot stove. Sharp knives
~1lb (500g) of meat. Pork, chicken or shrimp. I use pork country style ribmeat. No need to get fancy here.
~1lb (500g) of vegetables. Choose sturdy varieties such as broccoli, peppers, and squashes. When not using fresh I like to grab a bag of “store-brand” frozen stir fry veggies with asparagus. Most stores have this mix. Bamboo shoots optional.
1 can of Mae Ploy Coconut Milk (560mL) or Chaokoh (400mL) Both are great milks with loads of thick creamy good stuff. Mae Ploy has the bigger can. More is better.
.5oz (~14g) Mae Ploy Curry Paste. You can find the 14oz (400g) size for under $4 online or in stores. I get mine from Cash & Carry, a restaurant supply store. I find that Mae Ploy has the best authentic close to homemade flavor. Dried red chile, garlic, shallot, lemongrass, salt, galanga, shrimp paste, kaffir lime peel.
Fish sauce. This junk is FOUL. It smells like a bucket of fish that has been left out to rot in the sun. Oh wait, that’s exactly what it is. If you ever need to ruin someone’s day, spill some of this stuff in their car. In summer. (Squid and Tiparos brands are fine)
Start by preheating your cooking device. I use a cast ion wok. Duh. Any large pan or pot will work though. Crank it to high and get that thing smoking hot.
Slice your vegetables to manageable sizes. If using bell beppers, remove the seeds and white ribs inside as they can impart a bitter flavor. Set in a bowl
Next slice your pork or chicken in tiny thin strips across the grain. This will keep it tender and allow it to cook quickly. Set in dish and place out of the way. Wash everything.
Open the can of coconut milk. DO NOT SHAKE IT! You want it to be as separated as possible. Scoop the thick cream out (should be about the top half of the can) and carefully (stand back-make sure you’re wearing pants) place it in the red hot pan. By now your stove fan should be on and front door open because it’s gonna smoke like crazy. This step is called “cracking the coconut” and it is crucial to getting proper curry. Heat/boil/stir the coconut cream for a good 3 minutes. You want it to reduce and break. You will see a change happen where the coconut oil breaks out as the water is evaporated. At this time add your curry paste and mix well to blend it in. The hot coconut fat will do magic on the curry paste and cause the essential oils in the paste to break out.
Add the meat strips to the bubbling goo along with a few splashes of fish sauce and stir-fry until mostly cooked, about 6 minutes.
Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to transfer the meat out and replace with the vegetables. If you can keep both in the pan, great. With vegetables in pan, add the remainder of the coconut milk can. Simmer another 4 min or until everything is cooked. To get a real authentic flavor, add Thai basil and Kaffir lime leaves during the simmer.
Take a step-by-step tour with the slideshow