My eldest daughter has just gone off to university, so over the next few months I will be picking up the Anarchic Kitchen again to provide great tasting and good value recipes. Some of these were taught to me at Manchester University by Leo (Tse Chung Man) who I shared a flat with and who helped a lot of us to understand and cook Chinese and South East Asian food. My first recipe is for a basic Thai red curry, but if you have green curry paste that works just as well. Thai curry pastes are very good value, but do buy them from an oriental supermarket – and buy the most expensive. They are still very cheap, but the quality differs enormously and the versions you generally get in ordinary supermarkets have been toned down and as a result just don’t taste right. The chili gives them flavour, a Thai curry should be spicy, if it isn’t it doesn’t work for me.
- 1 tbl cooking oil
- 4 tbl thai red curry paste
- 1 tin of coconut milk
- [Optional] 200ml chicken stock
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 lime
- 1 tbl thai fish sauce
- 1 chicken breast
- 1 courgette
- 1 red/green pepper
- Optional [thai basil leaves and thai lime leaves]
As with most oriental cooking, the prep comes first and then the cooking. So chop the chicken and veg first. Here I would chop the chicken into approximately 5mm strips [roughly] and the courgette and red pepper into 1cm chunks.
Fry the curry paste lightly (moderate heat) in the cooking oil until it is fragrant. Open the coconut milk and at the top of the tin you have a thick coconut cream with the coconut water underneath. You want to just use the cream at this point, so with a spoon add most of the cream and not the coconut water under it. Lightly fry until a little of the fat comes out of the mixture to ‘crack’ it. Cracking a coconut cream separates the fat and the milk and it makes it more authentic [but some coconut milks have stabilisers in that stop them separating so don’t worry it if won’t work]. Then add the rest of the coconut water. You can now add the chicken stock if you want a thinner curry, or stick with just the coconut milk for a thicker curry. Heat through and you now have your curry sauce.
Now add the chicken and the veg. Poach [keeping the sauce lightly boiling/simmering] in the sauce for 5 mins. Everything should now be cooked. Add the sugar, the lime juice and the fish sauce to finish. If you have them then add the thai basil and lime leaves.
That is a thai red curry. It will do at least 2 servings and if you add more veg and have it with rice then you could make this go further.