I love Thai curries,specially Thai Red Curry that packs a big punch of heat and flavour. And when made with fresh ingredients there are few things that smell as good as the freshly ground curry paste cooked with coconut milk does.
But 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. You can save the left over sauce in a jar and use it later for quick curries or add it to rice and omelettes for that instant deliciousness of Thai cuisine.
You can make the curry as hot as you like by increasing the quantity of chillies in the paste.
For Thai Red Curry :
2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
Thai red curry paste, 4-5 tablespoons ( homemade or store bought)
Coconut milk, I cup
Fish sauce, 3 tablespoons
Red chilli peppers 2-3
Basil or coriander leaves
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
For Homemade Thai Red Curry Paste :
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
4-5 red chillies
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoon tomato purée or tomato ketchup
3 cloves garlic
1 big thumb of ginger, almost 1+1/2 inch or 1 teaspoon galangal
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons coconut milk
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 stalk lemon grass or zest of 1 lemon
Toast cumin and coriander till aromatic.
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 oil in a pan, add red curry paste. Sauté till it is darker in colour, add chicken strips. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add coconut milk, fish sauce and basil leaves. Let simmer for 10 minutes on medium low heat. Add a little chicken stock or water if it gets too thick.
Check for the balance of salty, sour and spicy according to your taste.
Serve hot over steamed rice.