So I finally did get around to making one last dish from this book, but sadly it had to go back to the library today, so I guess I won't be doing anything else from it for at least a little while.
The last dish I made was the jungle curry: I managed to source all the ingredients for the paste - including krachai - but had to use frozen galangal, because the store was out of stock of fresh when I went to buy it. Here are all the ingredients except the shrimp paste:
I've only made curry paste once before, so I'm kind of fumbling here. I don't have a large enough mortar, so I tried using a mini food processor, since it's such a small amount. Naturally, that just sprayed the ingredients all over the inside of the processor bowl, so I ended up pounding it in my tiny little mortar in batches. This is what I ended up with:
It's a lovely shade of grey from the dark grey, insanely pungent shrimp paste I was using. (And yes, I toasted the shrimp paste, though not, I think, long enough.) My impression is that this isn't pounded quite fine enough, since you can still see individual pieces of lime leaf and chilli, but it wasn't noticeable in the dish itself.
The curry I ended up with:
It was quite tasty, leaning toward salty and umami, with little in the way of hot, sour or sweet. The lack of heat actually kind of bothered me, because the headnote makes it sound like a jungle curry is supposed to be quite spicy, and Thompson agrees. I suppose my chillis might just be old, but I would definitely add more if making it again. (The benefit to making your own curry pastes, I suppose.)
I think I've got a reliable source for coriander roots for at least the rest of the summer, so I'll no doubt try making other curry pastes at some point... I'm in Toronto in a couple of weeks, and will be shopping for a mortar and pestle then. In the meantime, I have to decide if I'm ready to move up to any of the recipes in Thompson, or whether I have to plan to check Hot Sour Salty Sweet
out of the library again.