Thai Green Curry

Thai Green Curry on a bed of white rice

Thai Green Curry on a bed of white rice

I was going away on a holiday. Produce in the refrigerator waited to be used or trashed. Buying all the good stuff a couple of days before I go away is plain stupid of me.
See, but this is what happens. I go grocery shopping thinking I will just pick up the most essential things, but then the colorful fresh vegetables gleam and glare and I end up losing myself and my money. I had very little time to use them all up. Phew!

Well, to cut a long story short. A box full of broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini, baby corn and carrots needed to used – asap. Grilled vegetable salad were a passe. I craved for a spicy broth with them. So what better than a spicy curry laced with coconut milk and lemon grass. Yes, to finish off the vegetables I had to go buy some coconut milk and lemon grass ūüôā Thai Curry was on the cards.

Fragrant Green curry

Fragrant Green curry

I made a green paste with easily available ingredients. Skipped galangal, used Indian green chilies, omitted the fish and shrimp sauces. And yes, it still tastes simply marvelous!
Now, lemon grass and lemon rind are essential ingredients. You cannot go thai without them.

Ingredients for the paste

Ingredients for the paste

Lemon grass is fragrant and is used as an addition to tea, and in preparations such as kadha, which is a traditional herbal ‘soup’ given in coughs, colds, etc. It has medicinal properties and is used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine. Helps in relieving cough and nasal congestion.

Thai Green Curry Paste:

Thai Green Curry Paste

Thai Green Curry Paste

Ingredients

  • 5-6 finely chopped lemon grass stem
  • 1 cup chopped coriander leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 10 green chillies , roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • a small piece of ginger
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp grated lemon rind

Method

Combine all the ingredients and blend in a mixer to a fine paste, using just enough water. Keep aside.

Thai Green Curry with Vegetables

Loaded with vegetables

Loaded with vegetables

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup green curry paste
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 10-12 paneer/cottage cheese cubes
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of diced assorted vegetables – broccoli, baby corn, mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots
  • 1 onion, diced
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 8/10 leaves of basil, torn or chopped
  • salt to taste

Method

Heat the oil in a pot, add onions and the green curry paste and sauté on a medium flame for 1 minute. Add all the vegetables except paneer, sprinkle salt. Cover and let it cook till 3/4th done. Add the coconut milk, mix well and cook on a medium flame for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle sugar and salt, mix well and cook on a medium flame a minute or two. Mix in the diced paneer cubes. Top with torn basil leaves.

Serve hot. You could serve the curry with rice or noodles or slurp it up like a spicy soup too.

Note: Basil imparts a lovely flavor and fragrance to the curry. I didn’t have nay that day but top it on your curry and see the difference! Magical is the word.

Spicy, yet mildly soothing

Spicy, yet mildly soothing

Serve on a bed of hot steaming white rice or some boiled noodles –

A bowl of happiness

A bowl of happiness

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Spicy Thai Pumpkin Soup

Spicy Thai Pumpkin Soup

Spicy Thai Pumpkin Soup

I remember posting a recipe for pumpkin soup earlier. But this one is different. So cliched you would say. No, really. It’s different. A Thai version spiced with red curry paste and laced with coconut milk, gives the soup a spicy yet cooling effect. Cryptic? No, its simple. Red paste to heaten and coconut to cool.. getting both flavors without much harm done. So simple. And well so is the recipe.

Garnished with a little cream

Garnished with a little cream

Soups and stews are antagonistic to desserts where photography is concerned. To bribe anyone with pictures of soup is a mammoth task. I attempted various ways and I stumbled all the times. Soups make dreadful shots. I have no conniving methods(Read: Awesome clicks:) ) to garner attention to this post of mine.

I haven’t posted many yummy eats of mine just because I was not happy with the pictures. But perfecting shots is no piece of cake. And many a recipes were deleted in lure of those beautiful clicks. I was going to take a long time to improve, but that doesn’t mean, I should deprive you lovely people of fantastic simple procedures that I chanced upon. So, here I am.

Now, don’t mind the pictures, enjoy the rains with this spicy tangy yummy soup.

For rainy evenings....

For rainy evenings….

The Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped pumpkin
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic pods, minced or you could use 2 straws of fresh green garlic
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste – or as you like it
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp flour or powdered oats
  • salt to taste
  • Oil or butter – just a blob
  • Basil leaves to garnish – optional
Pumpkin, Red Curry and Spicy soup

Pumpkin, Red Curry and Spicy soup

Method

In a deep pan or pressure cooker, heat oil/butter. Saute the garlic and onions till pink. Mix in the red curry paste now. Throw in the pumpkin, tomatoes and 1/2 cup water. Cook till done. Once it’s cooked, run a blender through the mix. If you like, you could strain the concoction or use it as it is. Now, mix a tsp of flour or oats to the coconut milk. Stir it in the pureed mix. Give it a good boil or two. If its runny, add more coconut-flour mix and if its thick, stir in some water or plain milk. Season with salt and garnish with chopped basil.

We have the spice from the red paste, a mild sweetness from the coconut milk and tang from the tomatoes. So many flavors!!

Slurrrp it away with toasted bread.

Hint of coconut to beat the heat of red curry paste

Hint of coconut to beat the heat of red curry paste

Green Chutney

This spicy Indian green dip is a must have in all Indian refrigerators! Extremely versatile in its uses, this green condiment has many variations as a recipe. Sometimes I throw in some onion for more kick and sometimes a tablespoon of curd/yoghrut is all that it takes to mitigate the fire from the green chilies.

Go Green

Go Green

I make different variations depending on what my refrigerator and pantry has to offer. Each version tastes as different as well as similar as the other… you get what I mean? Don’t let my language baffle you, all Im trying to say is, the variations taste more or less the same, except for one or two key ingredient which can distinctively alter the taste. ( no, I am not bonkers…don’t look for family, they mislead.:) )

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coriander leaves, thin tender stalks included, washed well
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • 5-6 green chilies, or according to your taste
  • 1 tiny piece of ginger
  • Juice of 1 whole lime
  • 1 tbsp of roasted channa dal(daalia) or a piece of coconut or roasted peanuts
  • salt to taste
  • Optional: 1 small onion and 1 tablespoon of curd

Method

In a mixer jar, throw in all the ingredients, try and use very little water. Grind to a fine paste.
Remove in a glass jar, use as required and refrigerate the rest. Stays good up to 2-3 days.

Note: the roasted channa dal/peanut/coconut is put in to add some body to the chutney. An aunt also uses cucumber as a thickener, but I am not a fan of that taste, hence I avoid it. Peanuts taste best, but make sure they are fresh and not stale n smelling.

Note: Do not skip the lime juice, it adds tartness as well as helps maintain the green color of the chutney.

Note: If you do not have any mint leaves, its not a problem, coriander alone can kick enough…er… ruckus on your palette ūüôā

What some people do: Make a huge batch, freeze the dip in ice cube trays, de mould and pack away in a ziploc bag and deep freeze.
When in need, remove as many chutney pieces you require, thaw and use!

Spicy green mint coriander chutney

Spicy green mint coriander chutney

Uses:
1. As a dip with starters like samosa/cutlets/pakoras/vegetable fritters
2. As a spread on bread/tortillas/wraps
3. With rice and dal / pulao / pilaaf
4. With steamed savories like dhokla/idlis
5. In chaat! – pani puri/ragda pattice/sev puri/dahi puri.
Endless .. Endless… Endless!

so, now you see the varied uses of this spicy green must have in any Indian kitchen!