Thai Curries Made Easy
You hear it every week in this country, ‘I make the best thigh curry…..’ First and foremost the word is pronounced ‘Tai’. So for all of you who finally learnt to enunciate your TH’s properly on this word, get with the program. Lose the H and stick with what you do best…… dis, dat, dese and dose and of course Tai. Rant over, moving on.
Thai curry has to be one of the easiest dishes in the world to make as long as you can buy a decent paste. And I highly recommend a brand called Maesri. They do the whole spectrum from Red to Panang. I am going to give you the basic recipe for any one of the types and then refine each one with herbs, vegetables, meat etc. The sugar and fish sauce are the salt and pepper of Thai cooking i.e. your seasoning. Add extra sparingly to bring out the flavour.
What you need:
The base which works for the multitude of curries is as follows (serves two. Double, triple, quadruple at will):
1 tin coconut milk
1 tablespoon of curry paste (red or green or yellow or Panang or Massaman etc)
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
What you do:
Whisk the paste into the coconut milk over a medium heat. Add in the sugar and fish sauce and then add the following to the listed curries:
RED: thinly sliced beef (raw), green beans (blanched before so you don’t end up with the squeaky teeth thingy) fresh basil leaves and 2-3 kaffir lime leaves if you have them. Bring back to simmering for 5 minutes.
GREEN: thinly sliced chicken (raw) and carrots sliced into match sticks. Simmer for 5 minutes and add fresh coriander and thinly sliced mange toutes just before serving. An alternative is to omit the chicken and add chunks of firm fish such as cod for the last 2 minutes of simmering time.
MASSAMAN: this is a rich thick gravy-like curry sauce and therefore really benefits from some hearty additions such as potato and squash. These should be added first, simmer for 10-15 minutes or until veg is al dente, then add chicken or beef and simmer for 5 minutes more. Coriander and some green veg is the finishing touch for this one.
PANANG: thinly sliced chicken (raw) My personal favourite. At this point I should add a note on peanut curry. It is truly delicious and can be achieved by adding half a cup of ground peanuts or peanut butter and 2 tablespoons of Namprik Pao (we discussed this before, look back at soup) to the basic recipe. Serve this on a bed of sautéed watercress.
There are a dozen variations on these themes and many more recipes. But that is for another day.