Day 3 of 4-in-4: Cook something I’ve never made before
I love Thai food, and especially Thai curry. I’ve made Thai green curry plenty of times before, but I have always used store-bought curry paste, so for today’s project, I decided to make my own green curry paste from scratch. There are some (slightly) obscure ingredients involved, so besides Whole Foods, I also had to hit up the Thai Grocery in Chinatown to get supplies like shrimp paste, Thai basil, lime leaves, and palm sugar.
I don’t have exact measurements for you to follow along at home, but there are plenty of exact recipes for Thai green curry paste on the Internets, so just do the Google. I made my curry paste based on ingredient lists I found online and just improvised my own version.
First, roast some cumin, coriander, and black pepper in a dry frying pan until fragrant, then grind in a large mortar and pestle.
Next, cut up the curry paste ingredients (below) and then bash them all up in a mortar and pestle.
- Green chilies
- Galangal and/or ginger
- Lime zest, juice, and leaves
- Shrimp paste
The paste will be a lot chunkier and more fibrous than the stuff you buy in the store, so put a few tablespoons of the paste in a blender with a can of coconut milk and blended it, then strained the mixture through a strainer before cooking. Heat the curry and coconut milk in a pot until bubbly and fragrant, then add vegetables and proteins and simmer until done. You might also want to add half a can to a can worth of water to dilute the curry to your liking at this point.. Season to taste with fish sauce, palm sugar, and/or sliced fresh green chilies. Add a handful of Thai basil leaves and cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice in the last couple minutes of cooking. Serve with jasmine rice.
I made two variations of green curry. The shrimp and scallops cooked up very quickly, but the cod-potato-eggplant version took a bit longer for the vegetables to get tender, then I added the cod towards the end of cooking.