I really like curries & have recently decided there is little reason to slog over to Thai Jong given the ease in preparing the Thai Curry. Thai curries are simple, flavorful, cheap, and quick to make at home and generally taste “fresher” than what you get at the local thiarrhea shop. (I plan on trademarking thiarrhea).
There are a few simple steps in preparing the curry and you need relatively few ingredients and the entire thing can be prepped and ready by the time you’ve cooked your rice.
1. Coconut milk: regular is better, but lite is OK
2. Thai curry paste: I recommend buying at the Asian grocery as you can purchase small individual cans for about $1 each. Cuts down on waste and allows you to have more options on hand than the larger super market jars. Typically, you may choose from yellow (mild, heavy on the turmeric), red (hotter), Panang (red with peanuts), and green (really hot due to fresh green chilis).
3. An aromatic: fresh ginger, lime zest/juice, lemon grass
4. Seasonings: fish sauce & brown sugar
5. Vegetables: anything that goes together…above I have eggplant, red pepper, onion, and mushrooms. When prepping, I prefer to make my cuts uniform so everything cooks roughly the same.
6. Protein: tofu, chicken, beef, pork, fish…
7. Garnish: cilantro, lime wedges, thai basil or whatever you like
Procedure (while rice is cooking).
Heat a wok or saute pan over medium high heat. Shake coconut milk and pour about 1/3 into the pan and reduce until thick and syrupy. Whisk in about 1/2 a can of curry paste (about 1/4 cup) and the remainder of the coconut milk with 2 T brown sugar and about a tsp of fish sauce. Simmer for about a minute and then add the aromatic (I used lemongrass) slower cooking vegetables (in this case eggplant, onions, pepper) and protein and after about 2 minutes, the faster cooking vegetables or quick cooking seafood (mushrooms here). After 5 minutes, stir in the cilantro or basil, taste adding more sugar or fish sauce if desired and cook for one more minute. If you really want to kick up the heat, add some chilis at the end. I like the pickled thai bird chilis pictured here in the red jar.
1. Coconut milk (1/3 until thick).
2. Add curry paste, remainder of milk, seasonings and whisk together.
3. Add aromatics, vegetables, and protein. Cook 5 minutes.
4. Add garnishes for about a minute.
5. Test for seasoning and reseason if need be.