What is it about Curry?
A couple of years ago (to be honest about 10 years) Fred and I were sitting in Kao San Road Bangkok. We were about 3 weeks into our first backpacking trip and it was our first time ever in Asia. Last years all inclusive holiday on a Greek island has not really been a success. But that might be another story.
Anyways… there we were. It was ten o’clock in the morning, it was steaming hot and the streets were bustling with tourists. I wouldn’t find the restaurant again because to be honest, they all look alike and they all serve the same food. We had a look at the menu and Fred ordered a BLT sandwich. While it is not a Thai dish it does sound reasonable. All around us there where hungover tourists nourishing their hangovers. It smelled deliciously of … curry. We were on a tight budget but since the traditional Thai food is even cheaper I couldn’t be stopped.
I think this is the moment where it all began – my undeniable and irrevocable love for curries. Over the next three weeks I tried them all. Red curry, green curry, yellow curry, massaman curry, panang curry, curry with chicken, tofu, beef, shrimps, fish. Just to name them. We had cheap curry for less than 1€ and slightly more expensive curry for 3€ and above!
Back in Germany we went to a Thai Restaurant. You can guess it … I was so disillusioned. It had nothing to do with Thai food. Usually the restaurants here call themselves something like “Chinese-, Vietnamese-, Thai-, Indian food” and they don’t even make a difference between those. Seriously? It made me really angry!! As there are many Asian supermarkets I took the chance and started making my own curry. Since then about once a week there is one conversation that you can hear in our household:
Me: What should we cook this weekend?
Fred: Please, no Curry!
Me: What about Massaman Curry?
Fred: What a about a german pot roast?
Me: All right, Indian curry it is.
I guess you get where this is going! I want to share one of my all time favorites, a Fruity Thai Curry. This version comes with roast chicken and those of you who might want to change it to chicken breast, I can tell : Try it out first!! It is delicious! It also adds so much flavour and texture to the curry. You can get the roast chicken at most supermarkets anyway, so it’s not even a struggle. Let me know if you tried the recipe and what you think of it!
ABOUT 1 HOUR
Ingredients for Fruity Thai Curry
1 red chilli
2 gloves of garlic
2 cm of ginger or galangal
2 stems of lemon grass
½ a roast chicken
½ a ripe pineapple
150 gr sugar snaps
10 cherry tomatoes
1 small aubergine
1 bunch of fresh Thai basil
8 lime leaves
1 tin of coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons thai curry powder
2-3 tablespoons red curry paste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 bunch of spring onions
2 cups of (whole grain) basmati rice
Here we only very rarely get galangal in a German supermarket and I think ginger does it just as fine. The same goes for lemon grass. I grow it on the balcony so I usually have some fresh stems at home but if you cannot get it, no worries. Also I prefer not to buy the very spicy curry paste in the Asian supermarket. You won’t be able to use much and the curry will not taste as intense. (Believe me… I love spicy but you don’t want to have to hand out tissues to your guests because they are breaking out in tears!!). The longer the curry simmers, the spicier it will get. It is best to buy a mild paste or even make one yourself and adjust the spiciness with chillies. If you want your curry to be even more fruity, you can add a tin of lychees!
Peel the garlic, onion and ginger and roughly chop. Finely slice the chillies and remove the seeds if you want it to be less spicy. Put a large pan or a wok on medium heat with the vegetable oil and fry the garlic, onion, lemon grass and ginger until the garlic is lightly golden. Add the curry paste and fry for 2 more minutes. (I prefer to mix the curry paste into a bit of coconut milk to make it smooth. So you won’t have a chunk of paste in your pan that does not dissolve. Also start with only 1 tablespoon of the paste because it can be really spicy!). Add the chilli, lime leaves, 2 stems of Thai basil and the coconut milk and bring it to boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until it is a bit reduced.
Meanwhile cut the chicken with the skin into bit-sized pieces. Remove the pineapples stalk and chop the pineapple and the aubergine into 3 cm pieces. Cut the tomatoes in half and wash the sugar snaps.
If you want to serve the curry with rice you can start the rice now. I usually use whole grain basmati rice and it takes quite a while. 2 coffee cups of rice are plenty for 4 people. Add the double amount of water and a some salt and bring to boil. Turn down the heat and let it simmer until there is no water left.
Add the aubergine, pineapple and tomatoes to the pan and let it cook for 10 minutes. Finally add the chicken and sugar snaps.
Season with 2-3 tablespoons of fish sauce, lemon juice and perhaps the remaining curry paste. Serve with Thai basil leaves, finely chopped spring onions and the basmati rice.
If you want to prepare the curry in advance you could stop before adding the chicken. I think most curries are even better the next day but you don’t want the chicken and sugar snaps to be all floppy.
If you feel inspired and want to share: