This was going to be a red curry, but the lovely dried chillies my sister bought me have mysteriously dissapeared in the clutter of my spices, so I used some green Thai chillies instead.
It’s an absolute classic that needs no introduction, but using our own spice paste adds dimensions of flavour lacking in those (Admittedly useful!) jars of ready mixed paste.
Authentically, the veg should be an aubergine or two, cooked alongside the chicken to stew out the stringy texture, and perhaps some beansprouts, but I like it with crunchy stir fry type vegetables. By all means go with what makes you happy.
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 3 sticks lemongrass
- 1 tbsp galangal, chopped
- 1 tbsp coriander stalks
- 1 kaffir lime leaf
- 5-10 green Thai chillies
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 500g chicken thigh
- 2 cans coconut milk
- 1 tbsp palm sugar
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 5 kaffir lime leaves
- 150g mangetout
- 150g baby corn
- 8-10 cherry tomatoes
- A large handful Thai basil
First up, make the paste. You can do this any time, and it’ll keep in your fridge for a good week or so. Start by roasting all the dry spices in a dry pan, till there’s a good spice smell in the room. Transfer to either a pestle and mortar (authentic and difficult), or an electric spice grinder (easy but cheating). Grind these alone first.
Then add the slightly moist ingredients, everything but the chillies and fish sauce, and grind up as well. Finally, add the moist ingredients, and grind up one more time.
Chop your chicken and veg to whatever shape or size you find aesthetically pleasing. Open both cans of coconut milk, and scoop out the thickest milk, the slightly solid creamy bits, until you have about a cup (just under 250ml) of this.
Heat a wok or a large saucepan over a high heat and add the thick milk. Boil hard until it starts releasing an oil, then add about 3 tbsp. of your spice paste, reduce to medium high, and cook until the spices are fragrant, and your kitchen smells like heaven on earth.
Add the chicken and stir until it all has some colour. Then add another 2 cups of the thinner coconut milk, slowly but surely, and ensuring it’s all mixed in each time, then bring to the boil, and reduce to a simmer.
Add the fish sauce, lime leaves, and palm sugar, and go away for 20 minutes or so to let it simmer away and thicken up, uncovered. Return to the kitchen, throw in the veg, and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
Serve with steamed rice, or noodles. I like to put them at the bottom of a bowl, and spoon over the curry on top, so that the carbs absorb all the coconutty, spicy sauce. But again, your dinner, your rules!