Thai food is our undisputed favourite after Indian and every week or so, we get Thai food attacks. Having discovered some lovely thai stores, I now invariably make curries at home from scratch and what a sensory experience it is. The whole process of chopping herbs and spices and then pounding the curry paste is a lovely workout for your nose and arms. But if you would rather skip the excercise, go ahead and use a foodprocessor, and even then you would get way better curry paste what you get out of a can.
I would like to share today, the'Yellow curry' which is mild, and a super fragrant version of Indian curries .
As with all Thai curries, we first make a fresh curry paste .
5 to 6 dried red chillies, soaked to soften
3/4 tsp whole coriander seeds
0.5 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tablespoon chopped lemongrass (use only the inner tender part)
1.5 tsp curry powder**
2 tsp chopped shallots (or red onions)
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp chopped galangal
1 tsp chopped ginger
**I used a Thai brand called "Waugh's Curry Powder" recommended by a Thai cooking teacher in Phuket. To make your own, use turmeric, coriander powder, cumin powder in the ratio of 2:1:1 and add a generous pinch of tea masala and garam masala .You can also use kitchen king masala as recommended by Jugalbandi.
The vegetables I used the first time are carrots, babycorn, fresh water chestnuts, baby potatoes, shallots and broccoli. Water chestnuts add a flavourful crunch to the dish and this was how I had yellow curry the first time at the lovely Spice Route at Imperial, Delhi. I have not tried but canned ones may work too.Potatoes are preferably parboiled before using.
The second time I made this, I used only straw mushrooms, baby corn, long beans and broccoli, which were the vegetables I had on hand.
Making the curry:
Now there are two ways to do this. The first method involves heating the coconut milk on a low flame till it releases oil and using that to fry the paste. This method can give better results, using no oil, but is time consuming and not quite foolproof, depending on the quality of coconut milk. The easier approach is to fry the paste in some oil first.
Serves 1 or 2
1 cup of mixed vegetables
1 tbsp of sliced shallots, for topping
2 tbsp yellow curry paste
200 ml coconut milk (1 cup)
Light Soya sauce 2 tbsp ( or salt to taste)
a pinch of sugar (optional but recommended)
1.5 tbsp oil
1. Heat a wok ( preferably non stick) and add some oil ( around 1.5 to 2 tbsp) and fry the chopped shallots, drain and keep aside.In the same oil, fry the curry paste till fragrant ( around 2 minutes).
2. Add coconut milk and mix well. Let it come to a boil on low heat. Add all the vegetables in the order that they need to be cooked. If using potatoes, add them first.
3. Add around 1/4 cup of water if the curry looks too thick, although yellow curry is generally thicker and creamier than other curries.
4. Add soya/salt and sugar when the vegetables are nearly done. Simmer for another couple of minutes, check and adjust seasoning if required. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.
This curry goes all the way from Thailand via Singapore to Srivalli's Curry Mela