As winter approaches, so does the yearning for warm comfort food! As a palette change, I often try out Thai curries, but it is Thai Red Curry that gives me the most delight. This fragrant warm dish is sure to bring festive cheer into your house.
First, let us make the red curry paste. The ingredients needed are:
• A handful of dry red chillies (de-seeded, soaked in water for few hours.
• Lemon grass finely chopped (soften the lemongrass by beating it lightly with your rolling pin. Remove outer layer and chop off the ends. Finely chop what you are left with)
• Galangal chopped into small pieces.
• Shallots about 8 – 10 also chopped.
• Garlic (I used one full pod but you can use more or less as you prefer)
• Kaffir lime leaves (5 – 6) finely chopped.
• Peppercorns 5 – 6
• Coarse sea salt – to taste
Do make the paste manually as you get the rustic atmosphere and a better feel of the paste. I used my relatively tiny mortar and pestle, but there is no harm in using a grinder. Drain the red chillies and pound them along with the sea salt.
Add the peppercorns. I used 5-6 red chillies but you could use more to spice up the dish – the colour will be a more vibrant red too! Add the ingredients in order of their toughness. Next goes the galangal followed by lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Then add shallots and finally garlic.
One final round of pounding and your red curry paste is ready. Keep aside.
I’m using broccoli; green, red and yellow capsicum, beans and onion. Chop or slice your vegeta-bles, whichever you prefer. You could add some garlic too. You will need coconut milk. Try to get fresh, though tinned will do just fine. To make the curry, heat oil in a wok. Throw in the onion and sauté for a bit. Next add the beans followed by broccoli. And finally the peppers. Do not overcook as the vegetables will cook further when you add the coconut milk. Next add two heaped tablespoons of the Thai Red Curry Paste you prepared earlier and mix. Finally add coconut milk. Stir well and let cook for a few minutes. Check for seasoning and add more salt if required.
Check if the vegetables are tender. If so, your dish is ready to serve!
The lemongrass aroma and the creaminess of the coconut milk make this dish such a delight. I have served this with white and red rice. Enjoy this dish with the rice of your choice!
Ms Aditi Pathak Is based in Singapore. Widely travelled and from a Services background, cooking is one of her many passions.