When winter arrives, it’s not long before my Thai curry ingredients find their way onto the shopping list. All those overlapping layers of flavours like chili and sweet onion, coconut milk and lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and basil make for a hearty, satisfying dish. It’s even better warmed up the next day, after the aubergines have lapped up all that saucy goodness. This is one of those dishes that I like to make in bulk to save myself having to cook two nights in a row after work, and there’s often even enough left overs after the second night to make another dish – Thai Soup.
I started off making Thai Green Curry as I’ve always thought of Thai Red Curry as being an overpoweringly hot dish, but I had no choice but to make the Red version a few weeks ago when I could not for the life of me find Thai Green Curry Paste anywhere. Obviously everybody else in Durban had decided to make Thai Green Curry that week too. I’m glad I tried it though because I discovered that if you adjust the red curry paste to coconut milk ratio just right, you can get all that punchy flavor without the sweat-inducing heat.
You might remember from one of my previous posts, that I’m not a huge fan of chicken breasts. But combined with aubergines, soaked in Thai curry sauce & coconut milk, they are a more than perfectly acceptable meat addition. I must admit though, that I do tend to dish most of the chicken onto Craig’s plate, and most of the aubergine cubes onto mine, because I’d be quite content having this dish as a vegetarian meal, while Craig is partial to his meat. Throw in some whole Portobellini mushrooms, some yellow & red pepper strips, some baby marrow slices and chunks of aubergines, instead of chicken, and you’re all set! You can also freeze any left overs of curry and rice in separate tubs for another time (so you don’t kill Thai curry for your family, all in one week).
So here are my 4 takes on Thai Curry done as Thai Green Curry with Chicken, Thai Red Curry with Chicken, Vegetarian Thai Curry & Thai Soup.
I hope you enjoy them, and that they help ease the inflation aches.
Thai Red or Green Curry (Chicken or Vegetarian)
Serves 6 – 8
- 400-600g chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks (Substitute with yellow & red pepper strips and/ or baby marrows and/ or whole mushrooms for vegetarian option)
- Enough chicken spice to coat chicken (N/A for vegetarian option)
- Enough flour to coat chicken (N/A for vegetarian option)
- ¼ – ½ jar Thai Green Curry Paste (John West) OR 1 TBSP. of Thai Red Curry Paste (A Taste of Thai)
- 2 tins coconut milk
- 2-3 cups aubergine cubes (skin removed) from 1 large aubergine
- 1 whole onion roughly chopped
- 1-2 small peppers, cubed (yellow and red for colour)
- 1 cup basil leaves finely chopped and a few left whole for garnish)
- 2 tsp. fish sauce
- 2 tsp. brown sugar
2 TBSP. vegetable oil (or butter for vegetarian option)
- 2 cups Basmati rice (or enough for 4 – 6 people)
- Coat chicken pieces with chicken spice and then dust with flour (for the vegetarian option, gently fry your mushrooms & marrows in some butter)
- In a deep pot, brown the chicken in some oil until almost cooked through, then remove and keep aside (for the vegetarian option, once your veggies are almost cooked through, remove and set aside)
- Cook your basmati rice according to the packaging’s instructions and keep aside. I like to rinse the rice with cold water when it is done to stop dead the cooking process. This keeps the rice firm and stops it from going stodgy. (You might have to warm it up when the curry is done if your rice is done early)
- Heat up some butter on medium heat, and sauté green or red curry paste until fragrant (don’t let it burn), then mix in and lightly cook your onions.
- Add 2 cups of the coconut milk and stir until it starts boiling on medium to high heat
- Turn the heat down to medium again, add the chicken and continue cooking until cooked through (skip this step for vegetarian option)
- Add the remaining coconut milk, palm sugar and fish sauce. Bring to a boil on medium to high heat.
- Add the aubergine cubes (and mushrooms & marrows for vegetarian option) and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat
- Add the peppers and cook for an additional 5 minutes
- Add the chopped basil, stir and remove from the heat
- Warm up your rice, fill up a teacup for each person, cover with serving plate then flip over, tap the underside of the teacup to release the rice and voilà – a rice dome!
- Pour curry onto each dish alongside the rice
- Garnish with salt & pepper & whole basil leaves
Tip: You should taste a little bit of your sauce at every step to make sure it doesn’t get too hot (in which case you would add more coconut milk). But also make sure that you don’t add too much coconut milk to your dish if your Thai green curry paste is quite mild to begin with.
Did you know? That even though green, red & yellow peppers are great for a kick of Vitamin C, that many people have a problem digesting them? This is because peppers contain Solanine, a poison that can be toxic to our bellies, and Flavin, which can cause bloating & cramps. Who needs that in their life?! So we solve this problem by removing the peppers just before we dish up. That way, we can still enjoy the flavor of the peppers in the sauce and at the same time, avoid the “I need a Rennie or Eno” aftermath.
Thai Curry Soup:
- left over Thai curry mixture
- croutons or thick slices of crusty fresh bread or grilled ciabatta slices
- blender or hand blender and large plastic bowl
- a few whole basil leaves
- salt & pepper
- Pour all your left overs into a blender or large plastic bowl while still cold (you don’t want boiling hot soup being spat at you in the process)
- Blend until consistency is smooth
- Reheat in a large pot or reheat each serving in separate bowls
- Garnish each serving with a salt, pepper & a few basil leaves
- Top with croutons or serve with a thick slice of buttered (not margarine please – you’ll make me cry!!) crusty fresh bread or some grilled and buttered ciabatta slices
- Serve & enjoy!