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Thai Curry Recipes

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As a result of my planned travels through south-east Asia beginning in January, the food side of my brain has been salivating on overtime with any bit of food from this region. Obviously, the Thai stuff is a huge part of it all. I have been recently determined to produce my own Thai curries from scratch at home, in the hopes of mirroring or improving upon what I've eating around my home town - Montreal. We aren't the best for Thai restaurants, but we have a LOT of great restaurants in general, and the whole city is extremely food centric. Therefore, ingredient hunting is not a limiting factor. Choosing them from my limited Thai food experience IS. Now.. Before I take, let me give from what I've learned thus far.

I've made this tons of times already, and it now comes out incredibly well!:

-Thai green curry-

2 stalks of lemongrass (I take a LOT of it though, so if you are the kind of person that skimps, take a third)

1.5 sq'inch of chopped Galangal root

tsp. toasted (indian) coriander seeds

tsp. toasted cumin seeds

lime rind of one lime

4 chopped green onions

4 chopped cloves of garlic

10 peppercorns

tsp. of salt

20-30 green thai bird-eye peppers - deseeded and chopped


So.. I basically take all of this and crush it to a fine paste in my 7" mortar and pestle and then store away. It's one of those heavy granite Thai M & P's.. absolutely fantastic. I use it for everything.. fresh Indian spice teas, crushing large amounts of peppercorns.. masalas, thai curries, anything. Best $20 I ever spent in the kitchen.

Now if you are planning on using this and don't know what the next step is, I'll explain that before getting into any more questions from my end.

In a large wok or pot, fry the green curry paste in a tablespoon of oil.

after a minute, add the thick side of the coconut milk cans.... 3 of them. Try to not pour in the thin water/milk as it doesn't seem to absorb all the flavor of the paste the same way as does the cream.

Let it simmer for 3 minutes, then add about 2lbs of meat--let's say chicken; cut into bitesize strips.

Once this is half cooked, throw in about 5-8 quartered Thai eggplants, as well as a bunch of longbeans cut into 3 inch pieces. While you are at it, throw in some of the secondary seasonings... I usually add about 15+ Thai basil leaves and two scored kafir lime leaves. If you put in the lime leaves too early, it becomes the main flavor component. After all this is done, add about 1 tablespoon of crushed palm sugar, the juice of one lime, and enough fish sauce to balance it out. I think I put anywhere between 3-6 tablespoons, then a bit more sugar until it is just...not sweet, nor salty. By this time, I add a thinly sliced green pepper, stir it around a few more times and it is ready. Serve with jasmine or sticky rice.

Now.. I believe I have a good and accurate (with what?) taste from this recipe. What I'd like to do now is get a good red curry recipe done properly. I see such mixed up nonsense while searching through google. Also, before everyone suggests it, the only reason I simply don't go out and pick up a mae ploy paste is due to my strange desire to get it all done from scratch, but more importantly, I often have to make these things with/for people who are kosher, and can't eat the shrimp paste. I have noticed a few things with most of the recipes that appeared good from an online comparison standpoint, 1. They all seem to use dried red chilis, can't I use the fresh ones? They smell sooo nice. But is there a reason? 2. -Beyond the fact that the chilis are red, the great majority of most recipes are nearly identical to that of the green thai curry such as the one I posted above. Is that all there is to differentiate in flavor and automatically in color? I do know that one of the things I'd like to do with the red curry is roll up the lime leaves and superfinely chop them into strips to throw into the curry mid-way through. This would make them edible, and I've seen/eaten it like this somewhere and it was fantastic. It contrasted really well with the flavors of the red curry. So.. I believe this is all, I know this has been discussed a bit before in many threads, but I believe this is pointed enough to carry on with it's own thread. Thanks!


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Where did you get this recipe, might I ask?

I see a few ingredients in there that I'm not sure about. Green onions? I have never seen a curry paste with green onions, shallots yes, but never green onion. Gapi, shrimp paste, which is a crucial ingredient in curry pastes, is missing here but I do understand if you had to do it because of certain dietary restrictions. Also, the proportion of cumin/coriandar to the other ingredients seem quite high. This would make your curry smell pretty Indian in my opinion.

You are right about the basic ingredients of most curry pastes. Yes they are quite similar, but there are always differences in proportion and ingredients that are specific to each type of curry. For example, wild ginger (Krachai) is an important ingredient for green curry, especially ones with fish or seafood.

One more thing, I wonder why you add lime juice to green curry. Sour is not really a flavor component in classic green curry. Green curry is supposed to be hot, spicy salty, with a slight aftertaste of sweet.

chez pim

not an arbiter of taste

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Definitely some interesting questions raised.

The lime I added because it complicates the flavorings just slightly, to the point where one finds it a bit difficult to say whether the dish is inherently salty/sweet/sour. Either way, one lime is very little for the size of the entire dish; 3 cans of coconut milk definitely dilutes much of the lime's sourness. And the dish is still definitely spicy! As for the cumin and coriander, I've seen this used a lot. It was a huge concern when I decided to comply with the recipes and put them in, but it seems to work. I wouldn't put more than a teaspoon of each, but I question why I've seen it used so many times. I would have usually imagined a clear difference in this cuisine for not using such spices, but it turns out that they don't overpower the dishes too much.

The green onions I 'think' were part of some recipes that I looked at. But.. It is possible that I began using them simply because they are less strong a taste than shallots, and I was also looking for more 'green' at one point. So maybe I've now adopted this as normal. I don't know. Speaking of colour what do you do about the getting the right colour? not this it is of prime importance, but what I usually get out of all this is something in between coconutmilk-white and a pale green, but I've seen it in some Thai/Lao resto's here in almost an olive green. What should this end up really looking like? And concerning the onion content, is it much better to use shallots? I'm assuming something like french shallots right? Regarding the krachai, I have yet to ever use this, since I haven't had the opportunity to do a fish curry which is where the stuff is most often used.. right (why is that?)?

Where did I get this info for the recipe?.... I don't recall too many of the places, here's one site:

Thai sauces

So what recipes/proportions would you use for this curry? and others would be very much appreciated too!



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  • 2 weeks later...

The original recipe looks very familiar with the one I have experimented with, except of

course no green onions (replace with shallots in the paste) and some shrimp paste (in the paste).

The other difference is that I use no oil. First of all, I will 'crack' the thick coconut cream in the wok over medium heat. This is the point where the oil will start to emerge from the cream. This usually takes a couple of minutes. Then add the paste into the cream. The coconut cream is then able to be used as a cooking medium for the paste (instead of oil). Once the paste has 'cracked' a little, then it is time to carry on with the rest of the recipe as you currently do (add chicken, etc).

I too often find that the colour doesn't come out quite as green as I've had in restaurants and would be interested too find out what other people do to try and help this (without resorting to artificial colouring). I think the cumin/coriander sometimes causes it to go slightly muddy coloured. I have the same problem with the red curry. It often comes out brown and although tastes pretty good just doesn't look like a 'red curry'. Sometimes adding a fresh red chilli does help although I am hesitant to add things like paprika (which I have seen in some recipes).



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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, for red curries, I've definitely seen them showing up in all colours... pale orange to dark brown at one Laotian place I frequent.

I'd love to see some of the major differences show up with a few recipes. It seems that the net is highly populated with green curry recipes but for anything else the usual method instructs to simply 'add curry paste'....... !? greeaat.

The Thai Q&A thread is great, lot of interesting stuff in there, It would be great to have a round 2.

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