There are some pretty good Thai green curry pastes out there. There are some bad ones too so shop around until you find one you really like. That, or make your own which is always my preferred curry paste. You just can’t beat the intense and delicious flavour of freshly pounded Thai green curry paste!
Once you have your curry paste sorted, this recipe is a breeze! It only takes minutes to make. Again, however, I really hope you try making your own curry paste as I do here. You will notice a big, tasty difference.
250ml Thai green curry paste - preferably homemade but shop bought ok
500ml coconut cream
Vegetables - such as aubergine, baby corn, peas, bell pepper, bamboo shoots
2 tbsp sugar - more or less to taste
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 red Thai chillies
Salt to taste
Slice the chicken breasts or thighs into thin pieces and set aside.
Heat a large wok or frying pan over medium high heat and ad the oil. When visibly hot, stir in the chicken pieces and brown for a couple of minutes in the oil.
Add the green curry paste and fry for about 30 seconds, moving the paste around in the pan so that it fries evenly with the chicken.
Add the cream coconut cream and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in your vegetables of choice - as many or as few as you like. Allow them to simmer until cooked through to your liking. I prefer mine to be on the crispy side and not at all mushy.
Thai green curry paste is available at supermarkets but it is no where near as good as what you can make at home. It’s the pounding of all those delicious ingredients that will make your green chilli paste the best there is. By pounding the ingredients in a pestle and mortar, you release their natural oils slowly into the paste and with those oils comes flavour. When I was in Bangkok, I tried Thai green curry at street stalls and and restaurants and the quality often varied a lot.
These days most Thais don’t have the time to prepare their own Thai green curry paste in a pestle and mortar. Those that do make their own will often use a blender and even more will simply go out and purchase it at the market. With their busy work lives, spending a half hour making a green curry paste just doesn’t make much sense.
I have tried making Thai green curry paste many times both in a blender and also pestle and mortar. By simply blending the ingredients, you WILL LOSE flavour. I recommend spending some time pounding with a pestle and you will love the results. That said, you could also pound ingredients in a pestle and mortar to start and then finish it all up in a blender when your arm starts getting tired. Your finished Thai green curry paste won’t be as good but very close and in my opinion, close enough!
15 green bird's eye chillies - roughly chopped - More or less to taste
8 cloves garlic - smashed
3 small shallots - roughly chopped
10 Thai sweet basil stalks - 1 tbsp
5 coriander (cilantro) stalks - ½ tbsp
1 thumb sized piece of galangal - thinly sliced
Zest of ½ lime
5 kaffir lime leaves - fresh or frozen
2 stalks lemongrass - about 4 generous tbsp
2 tbsp shrimp paste
Heat a frying pan over medium heat and toast the cumin and coriander seeds until warm to the touch and fragrant but not yet smoking. Transfer to a pestle and mortar to cool a little and then pound into a fine powder. Transfer this powder to a plate and add the white pepper. Set aside.
Now add the remaining ingredients up to and including the lemongrass and start pounding. It will take you about 20 minutes to pound the paste until it is smooth. If you're feeling lazy, you could blend the paste after the first ten minutes of pounding but the flavour won't be as intense.
Stir in the shrimp paste and ground spices and pound some more to incorporate it into the paste.
This paste can be kept in an air-tight container in the fridge for about a week and it can also be frozen for up to three months.
This version of Thai red curry is very authentic. You could just add bite sized pieces of chicken thigh or breast to the finished sauce but I hope you give this version a try. Frying the chicken on the bone and then letting it simmer really adds a lot of delicious flavour.
I learned this recipe at a hotel I was staying at in Phuket. After trying all the tourist versions, it was so nice to devour this one.
About 400g vegetables like baby corn, bamboo shoots, aubergine, broccoli
Coriander (cilantro) to garnish
Salt to taste
Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large frying pan or wok. When visibly hot, place the chicken thighs, skin side down in the oil and fry for about five minutes. Flip the meat over and add 500ml (2 cups) water and let it simmer down until about 90% evaporated. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the meat from the pan and stir in the red curry paste. Now add the coconut milk/cream, the veggies, fish sauce, tamarind concentrate and sugar and simmer for about three minutes to thicken. Return the meat to the pan to heat through and garnish with coriander. Season with salt to taste to serve.
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Before reading this Thai red curry paste recipe, you might like to watch my video on how to make it.
I highly recommend making your own Thai curry pastes! There are some good red Thai curry pastes available at supermarkets and online but you will notice the difference. When I’m feeling lazy, I use this brand or Thai red curry paste.
For best results, you will want to pound the ingredients in a pestle and mortar. Warning… this can take up to a half hour but breaking those fibers down into a paste makes a curry paste like nothing you can purchase. You could also pound the ingredients for about ten minutes and finish up in a blender which will be almost as good.
Thai red curry paste isn’t just used in Thai red curry! There are so many other recipes you can make with it and I will be adding them to the blog very soon.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat and toast the cumin and coriander seeds until fragrant and warm to the touch but not yet smoking. Transfer to a pestle and mortar to cool and then pound to a fine powder. Stir in the whit pepper. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
Now place the rest of the ingredients up to and including the lime zest and pound for 15 to 20 minutes into a buttery paste. You could use a blender but the flavour won't be as intense.
When you have a good paste, add the shrimp paste and ground spices and pound for another five minutes or so. This paste can be stored in the fridge for up to a week and it also freezes well.
Before you read through my beef massaman curry recipe, you might like to watch this video.
Massaman curry is believed to have been brought to Thailand by Persian sea merchants and judging from the spices used, it most likely was. You can see the Indian and Persian influences in the choice of spices like cinnamon, cardamom and cloves which aren’t seen in many Thai curries.
I make my own massaman curry paste which really adds an authentic and delicious flavour to the curry. Massaman curry paste is now readily available at most supermarkets so you could just buy some but the end result won’t be as good. Still go for it though. There are some good quality massaman curry pastes out there. I like this one.
You don’t want to rush this one! The meat is cooked when it’s cooked. So low and slow is the rule.
Place the beef in a saucepan and pour the water over it. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1½ to 2 hours until the meat is really tender. You will probably need to add more water but only add just enough to cover. We want the stock to be really flavourful from the beef.
When the meat is almost tender enough to eat, stir in the potatoes and cook until fork tender.
While the meat is cooking, you can start making the curry. In a wok or large frying pan, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. When it begins to shimmer, add the onion and peanuts. Fry for about 3 minutes and then add the massaman curry paste. Stir well to combine in the oil.
Now add the coconut milk and the tamarind concentrate, followed by the beef, potatoes and about 250ml (1 cup) of the cooking stock. Simmer for about 10 minutes to thicken.
Season with salt to taste to serve.
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This Massaman curry paste recipe will be on my YouTube Channel very soon. Don’t miss it! You can subscribe here.
Pounding your own homemade Massaman curry paste will achieve a paste that far exceeds anything you can purchase in a jar. This paste is obviously used to make Massaman curries but you could use it as a paste for just about any Thai curry and not be disappointed. I am always making my own Massaman curry paste as once you’ve made your own, store bought will never quite do the job. For optimum flavour, pounding the ingredients into a paste is important. You just don’t get the same fantastic flavour when you blend it.
That said, most Thai people, busy with their jobs and lives in general don’t spend time pounding their own curry pastes. Curry pastes are so readily available in Thailand, made fresh and purchased from markets.
You could cheat a little with this Massaman curry paste recipe and give the aromatic ingredients a good pounding for about five minutes and then finish it all in a blender or spice grinder. The flavour won’t be as intense as only pounding it but it will still be better than blending it from the start.
However you decide to proceed with this, you can rest assured that even if you only blend the ingredients, you will still end up with an outstanding curry paste that is bursting with flavour.
Massaman curries are different to other well-know Thai curries as they have a lot more spices in them. It is believed the Massaman curry has Muslim roots which is evident from the spices used, just like the cooking of Northern India and Pakistan.
No drying of vegetables required to make this base sauce! You can also purchase vegetable powders!
So I’m sitting at my son’s flat waiting for him to get in from classes in York where he studies. I’m feeling a bit peckish but as usual, he has nothing in the cupboards other than some instant vegetable soup. Where does all that money go? I open a cold beer from the fridge and heat up some water to pour over the dried ingredients from the soup pack. The soup is actually a lot better than I thought it would be and suddenly it dawns on me, I should try doing the same with my curry house base sauce recipe. Could it actually be made in ten minute?
When I returned home, I took my dusty vegetable and fruit drier out of the attic and cleaned it up. If my idea worked, I knew that I could use home dried ingredients or purchase vegetable powders just like those that were in that vegetable soup I tried. Could I actually make a base sauce in ten minutes that tasted as good as those I had been labouring on for years?
I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand that I would usually use in a base sauce but I wasn’t going to drive to the shop and purchase them. The red bell pepper and cabbage would have to be for another time if my base sauce idea tasted as good as I was hoping.
I set my vegetable/fruit drier to 67c and set the timer for 12 hours and then just let it do its job. I use this one which I can highly recommend! Note: I have since used vegetable powders with excellent results. The great thing about using powders is that you don’t have to blend the sauce afterwards. It’s ready to go!
I weighed out the vegetables using my normal base sauce recipe but halved it. With dried vegetable ready, I weighed them again so I would know how much powder to use in future.
This recipe makes about three litres of base sauce or about enough for 4 curry house style curries that serve 4. You can scale it up or down depending on how much you want to make. The results were fantastic. In fact I couldn’t tell the difference. Base sauce in 10 minutes! You need to give this a try!
You can make so many different curry house curries with this base sauce. Here are a few from my website but my most up to date recipes are in my cookbooks, ‘The Curry Guy‘ and ‘The Curry Guy Easy‘.
Bring two litres of water to a boil. Place the dried ingredients and spices in a large saucepan and pour the boiling water and oil over them. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes to rehydrate. Blend into a smooth sauce. If using vegetable powders, you won't have to do this.
To finish, add about another litre of water until your sauce is about as runny as full fat milk and use as needed.
I don’t write many restaurant reviews on my blog these days. As much as I would like too, I’m having trouble finding the time. Every now and then, however, I find a restaurant that I love so much, I just have to tell you all about it. On this occasion, that restaurant is Baluchi at LaLit London.
I was first introduced to Baluchi by my friend Jomon Kuriakose who is Chef de Cuisine at Baluchi. You might recognise his name from my posts about my trip to Cochin, Kerala where he showed my wife, Caroline and me some amazing eateries in the city. So when we returned to the UK, we knew we had to visit him on our next trip to London and see for ourselves if the restaurant was as good as he said it was.
Baluchi is set in the historic former St. Olave’s Grammer School’s assembly hall. It’s a magnificent setting.
We reserved a table on a Saturday evening and knew we were in for a real treat from the moment we walked in the door. Our table was ready for us when we arrived but we were asked if we would like to enjoy a drink in the bar first and that sounded good to us. The main bar is just off the dining room and was the perfect place to start the evening.
After sipping down our cocktails, we were shown to our table for our evening of culinary excellence!
Executive Chef Santosh Shah came out to our table and I was pleased to learn that we had met before when he was Head Chef at The Cinnamon Club. Rather than ordering from the menu, we asked him to send out some of his favourites including the tandoori octopus which I had seen on the menu and definitely wanted to try.
The starter courses were out of this world! First up was a tandoori celeriac which was served with mint chutney, burnt apple gel, masala seeds, gunpowder and coconut foam. Wow! Then came my requested tandoori octopus served with baby potatoes, colocasia (taro) root, labneh (a Lebanese style soft cheese), coriander chutney and a puffed quinoa. The octopus was so tender and perfectly spiced. After trying it, I purchased two octopuses to see if I could replicate his recipe at home. I’m not quite there yet but I’m working on it and won’t give up until I get it right.
Then there was the kebab platter with a unique and delicious kaffir lime chicken tikka, tandoor lamb chops and fish tikka. I’m telling you… you have got to get to Baluchi to try these. Sure, you can get great tasting tandoori dishes at many restaurants but Santosh seems to have a way of making them something to really remember.
Our main course was a thali of curries which included butter chicken, kadhi pakoda (fried onion dumplings tempered in a yoghurt sauce), palak paneer, biryani, dhal makhani and a creamy jackfruit curry. I might cook a lot of Indian food but I had never tried jackfruit. I’m hooked!
And to finish? I’m not even a big fan of desserts but this one blew me away. Tandoori pineapple with homemade cardamom ice cream and pink peppercorn tuille.
I can’t wait to return to Baluchi when I’m next in London. The meal was incredible and the service could not have been better. Thank you very much to Chef Santosh Shah, Chef Jomon Kuriakose and team!
The LaLiT London
181, Tooley Street
London – SE12JR
020 3765 0000
This one is all about the garlic and paprika! You use a lot of both but neither over powers the dish. So don’t let the amount of garlic scare you because it mellows as it cooks. The paprika and tomato give the curry a beautiful deep red colour which looks spicy hot but it’s not. Most mild curries at curry houses are quite creamy and can be very fattening. No need for cream here. This is one of the healthy, mild curries I used to cook for my kids a lot when they were young. Now they make it for themselves.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the yoghurt with two tablespoons of the paprika and minced ginger. Stir the chicken in and make sure it is evenly coated with the marinade.
Peel the garlic. Place half of it in a food processor or spice grinder with the chopped onion and just enough water to blend into a thick paste. Set aside. heat the oil in a large saucepan or wok over medium high heat. Stir in the whole spices and infuse them into the oil for about 30 seconds.
Add the remaining garlic and the anchovies to the oil and break the anchovies up with a spatula. Fry the garlic until light brown but not at all burnt. Stir in the onion and garlic paste and the remaining paprika and turmeric. Now stir in the marinated chicken and the tomato puree. Add just enough water or stock to cover.
Simmer for about 5 - 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the vinegar and simmer for a further three minutes.
To finish, season with salt to taste and garnish with chopped coriander.
While my wife Caroline and I were in Kerala recently, we were invited to breakfast at the home of Shihabudeen V M and his family. This was no ordinary breakfast! In fact it was one of the most amazing home cooked meals Caroline and I have every experienced. Shihabudeed and his wife Ruvaida cooked up an incredible feast with no fewer than seven different dishes. We were in food heaven!
One of the dishes was this aleesa. Aleesa is a wheat and chicken dish that is also often made with mutton. It’s origins are from the Middle East but it is a very popular dish with the Muslim community in Kerala, especially during Ramadan. Caroline and I loved it so much I just had to get the recipe and thankfully, Shihabudeen was happy to send it to me.
This is the perfect dish for children too as it’s not at all spicy. I made it for my family when I got home and they’re already asking me to make it again. I think I might just do that really soon. If you would like to read more about our morning meal and afternoon spent with Shihabudeen and his family, click here. It was a real highlight of our trip to Kerala. Experiences like this are what make holidays for me.
Shihabudeen is a professional chef who has had his own television show in Kerala and has just recently started his own Youtube channel. Some of the recipes are in Malayalam but I highly recommend checking his videos out and subscribing as you will understand what’s going on even if you don’t understand the language. I subscribed to his channel when I got home and wait eagerly for each new video. The man knows his stuff!
Tie the star anise, cloves, cardamom pods and cinnamon in a clean cloth. Place the tied spices in a large pot with the soaked bulgur and the chicken leg. Cover with water and cover the pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 40 minutes until the chicken is falling off the bone and the bulgur is nice and soft.
Meanwhile, toast the almonds or cashews in the ghee until lightly browned and then transfer the nuts to a bowl to use as a garnish. This is optional.
In the same ghee, sauté the shallots until lightly browned and add the turmeric. Stir well to combine.
You can remove some of the chopped shallots to lose as a garnish as well.
Remove all the meat from the chicken bone and place it with the cooked bulgur in the pan with the browned shallots.
Cover with water and simmer for another 30 to 40 minutes until the chicken and bulgur are like much. The finished dish should have the texture of cooked oatmeal. You can use a potato masher to mash it all up really well.
Season with salt to taste and garnish with browned nuts and shallots if you like.