Well, if you are a fan of Thai curries and live where you can’t find some of the fresh Asian ingredients then you have two choices; you can cheat and buy a good jar of Thai curry paste or you can experiment with some locally available substitutes. In my zealous pursuit of making some Thai red curry, I’ve tried both and concluded that the curry made with fresh, homemade paste tastes better despite a few key ingredients being replaced with local ingredients.
Though it seems like a long list of ingredients for the paste but all you really have to do is add them to food processor and blend till smooth. It’s a quick and easy process, as is making the prawns red curry with it. Just have all the ingredients ready and handy, coz the curry gets done in a jiffy and you don’t want to over cook the prawns!
It’s impossible to get galangal where I live, fresh or powdered, so I used ginger instead and just doubled the quantity. Though lemon grass can be found but I have to go a great distance to get it and its expensive. Usually I freeze a good quantity but when I run out of it, I use lemon zest instead. This versatile paste can be saved in a jar and stirred into soups, stir fries and rice to add that lovely aromatic touch of Thai cuisine. Enjoy!
1/2 kg prawns, raw peeled
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons of homemade or store bought Thai red curry paste
1 can coconut milk
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1+1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
A bunch coriander leaves
For Thai Red Curry Paste :
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
2 red chillies
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoonsL tomato purée or tomato ketchup
3 cloves garlic
1 big thumb of ginger, almost 1+1/2 inch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons coconut milk
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 stalk lemon grass or zest of 1 lemon
Just add all the ingredients to food processor and whiz till you have a smooth paste. If its too thick, add a little more coconut milk.
This Is What You Do :
Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan or deep frying pan, add 3-4 tablespoons red Thai curry paste and stir fry for 2 minutes. The paste gets redder and more aromatic when fried. Add prawns and continue to stir fry another 2 minutes. Add one cup coconut milk and bring to a boil.
Add chicken stalk, lemon juice and half of the coriander. Simmer for 2 minutes. Check for seasoning, if it needs to be more salty, add more fish sauce instead of salt. Garnish with remaining coriander and serve hot over noodles or rice.