Let’s talk all things curry. No doubt about it, I am a huge curry fan. Never tiring of the big, bold, creamy, spicy flavors curries hit you with. Just so you have the full picture I go to Thai or Indian restaurants with the intention of “I will eat until I’m just satisfied and take the rest home” and that idea goes to hell real quick and before I know it I’m drinking the last drops of coconut milk like some sort of fiend. Not even sorry. This leads to being somewhat of a curry snob. And to break it down there are so many different types that stem from different regions around the world. I’ve been lucky enough to go to India and also to South East Asia and try curry and its an absolute mouth-gasm when done right. Honestly, I could die happy eating curry. So I learned how to make my own just the way I like them (and despite making them frequently I still enjoy to hit up a traditional hole-in-the-wall restaurant and get the real deal with no clean up required). And now I want to teach you (and everyone else).
So how do you make a good curry? And lets start referring to Thai Curry specifically since that’s the recipe we are talking about here. Well, you build the flavor profile, it should have layers of complementing flavors. The vegetables should be timed correctly for their cooking times so that when the dish is complete the vegetables are not over-done but cooked through. Curry paste- I use a green or red curry paste most of the time and you can find these at your local grocery store. BUT, you cannot rely on curry paste alone. That is simply a starter. The ginger, lime, basil, cilantro and other seasonings are the additional layers that make the whole dish come alive. You get to decide how much you add and please note that the amount of curry paste used as indicated in the recipe is just a ball park, start there and add more as needed, you can always add more coconut milk to thin it out.
This particular curry recipe is very easy, simple and not overbearing. Again, you decide how much spice and other of the flavors you like to add. Anyone can make this. My tip is to get everything prepped and ready to use before you begin the preparation so you can be fully in “curry zone”. You also choose what you’d like to serve this dish with, I prefer long grain rice such as jasmine and I always prefer a whole grain rice. But you could use quinoa or some other grain as well (surprise me!). I have also mixed things up and had this Thai style curry with some Indian naan bread on the side and thats fantastic too. If you wanted to make this a three-four course situation you could start with some summer rolls, have a papaya-cabbage salad, the curry and perhaps mango sticky rice for dessert? I’m just saying there’s places to run with this and lots of options. Never get rigid with cooking, keep exploring. Have fun with it and if you try it out let me know!
Easy Weeknight Green Coconut Curry
The stuff you’ll need:
2 tablespoons coconut oil
Green Curry paste- about 2-3 tablespoons or more depending on how spicy you like it
1 can full fat Coconut Milk
1 can lite coconut milk
3 cloves garlic
Assorted Vegetables of your choosing; I use: Carrot, potato, cauliflower, broccoli, onion, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, red pepper, water chesnuts, bamboo shoots.
1 handful thai basil (any basil will work), you can keep the leaves whole or chiffonade them, I do a bit of both.
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
3 Kaffir lime leaves or 1 tablespoon lime zest. (add more to taste)
Ground black pepper, to taste (helps to activate turmeric)
Liquid aminos, tamari, or soy sauce to taste(I prefer the gluten free tamari or liquid aminos)
Roasted cashews, chopped for garnish
Cilantro for garnish
*Optional: Tofu or tempeh…I love this option, see my tip at the end of the recipe.
Start with your prep. Have all your vegetables chopped into manageable, bite-size-ish pieces, get your coconut milk open, grate the ginger, wash and take care of your basil. Have a large wok or deep pan (not coated in teflon!) ready and begin to heat it over medium-high flame and add the coconut oil. Once oil is melted add the curry paste and begin to whisk into the oil, then add coconut milk and keep whisking until combined. Add in garlic. Add in either your kaffir lime leave or lime zest, if you are using the leaves (which is more traditional) you will add the leaves in whole and take them out before eating like a bay leaf. Now add the potatoes and then hardest veggies first (carrots, etc) cook them for a few minutes until starting to soften then add the other veggies and keep heating on medium-low until cooked through. Now add the liquid aminos, turmeric, pepper, and basil. You may want to thin out your curry with either veg stock or more light coconut milk, I like mine more broth-y like traditional thai curry but you could have it thicker too. Taste and adjust those seasonings if needed. Serve in a bowl with rice or quinoa topped with chopped cashews and cilantro.
*If using tofu or tempeh I always pan fry it in a separate pan and add it into the curry at the end. Be aware this will bulk up your curry so add more liquid accordingly. For tofu I marinate drain all the liquid and press it between paper towels to reduce the water content and marinate it in a mix of liquid aminos, lime juice and chili flakes. The pan you fry it in must be very hot and you’ll be tossing the tofu or tempeh frequently over high heat until golden and textured on the outside. Adding coconut oil to the pan is an option!