Category Archives: Thai food

thai green curry: a weeknight meal

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Earlier in the month, I was wandering through the farmers market on a rainy Saturday morning and came across stalks of lemongrass. That got me thinking about making green curry which one of the key ingredients is lemongrass. Since I have easy access to Asian supermarkets like Ranch 99, I was able to pick up items like coconut milk and an authentic green curry paste (see note after recipe).

This is an easy and economical weeknight dinner that takes about 30 minutes and is great the next day. If you like curry, check out my yellow curry recipe (my first blog post). It’s another easy weeknight dish.

Thai green curry (adapted from simply recipes)
serves 4
1 TB vegetable oil (canola or olive oil works too)
½ red bell pepper sliced
1 carrot, ¼ inch slices
1 small onion (or ½ medium onion) sliced
½ cup frozen peas
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
2 TB green curry paste (see description and pic below)
1 14 oz can of coconut milk
¾ cup chicken broth
1 TB fish sauce
1 TB brown sugar
¼ cup Thai basil leaves (or regular basil is ok too)
1 lime, sliced in 8 wedges to garnish (optional)

1. In a medium pot or wok on medium-low heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil. To that, add 2 tablespoons of curry paste. Saute until fragrant, which will be about 20-30 seconds. Pour in about half the can of coconut milk and stir. Let the mixture simmer for about 3 minutes.
2. Add fish sauce, brown sugar, chicken broth, and remaining coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add all the veggies and cook for about 4 minutes or until they are softened. Lastly, add the shredded chicken to heat up.
3. Turn off the heat and add fresh basil to serve. Enjoy with rice or rice noodles.

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Note on green curry paste: I recommend the Maesri brand of curry paste (amazon sells it) from Ranch 99 for about $1.59 for a 4 oz can. It’s the real deal. The ingredients are legit (like green chiles, kaffir lime, galangal, and a whole bunch of spices) and it saves you the time/hassle of buying at least 8 more ingredients to create the curry paste). Also, it’s free of MSG and other preservatives (and a product of Thailand).  Some recipes that I found have you actually make your own curry paste but I don’t think it’s necessary unless you lack access to quality Asian products.
Veggies: You can easily swap out the veggies listed above for whatever you have at home. I would recommend keeping the peas, so good! Traditionally, Thai eggplant is the main veggie in this dish but add what you like.
Also to note: some recipes call for sliced Thai chili to garnish the soup. Personally, I thought the curry had enough of a peppery kick but if you want to turn the heat up, by all means add some Thai chili but proceed with caution; the smaller the peppers, the spicier they are.

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Thai yellow curry

My first memories of eating curry was what my mom would make from the Japanese blocks of dried curry paste (that comes in that gold paper — doesn’t it remind you of a chocolate bar?). That sweet, thick, and peppery aroma would fill the entire house with its distinct smells. I wasn’t introduced to Thai style curry until college but once I tried it, I was hooked! It was creamy, sweet, more soupy than the kind I was used to eating growing up.

I found this simple recipe and thought I’d give it a shot – my first Thai dish and a success! Looking forward to making more later this week to put to use my leftover ingredients.  Being cost conscious, I calculated that it cost a little more than $5 to make this dish for 4 servings (really cheap!).   Side note: I was surprised that my local Fresh & Easy carries coconut milk (is it because I live in a heavily Asian American community, or has Thai cuisine become a mainstream people are buying Asian staples like coconut milk?).

Thai yellow curry (Adapted from avocado & bravado)
1 TB vegetable oil
1 onion, finely minced
1 chicken breast, cut into 1″ pieces
1 small Thai chile, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 thumb size piece of ginger, finely minced
2 tsp curry powder
1 large red potato (or 5 small red potatoes), cut into 1″ pieces
1 large carrot, diced
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
1 – 15 oz can of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)
fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

1. Pour chickpeas into a colander. Scoop out 1/3 of the beans and mash them into a paste (with fork or some flat surface). Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add onion and chicken and cook until chicken is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and chili into stockpot and stir for about a minute. Add curry powder  and stir for another 30 minutes.
3. Add potatoes and carrots and make sure they’re well coated with curry powder. Stir in the chicken broth and coconut milk, chickpeas (both whole and mashed). Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes or when potatoes and carrots are tender (seems really watery when you first put in the liquids but it’ll thicken as the potatoes cook with the mashed chickpeas).
4. Season with salt and pepper accordingly.  Pour curry into bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro. Enjoy!