I was having curry at a local Thai restaurant last weekend and it wasn’t so great, the so-called “Royal Curry” is similar to a peanut coconut curry, but it was way too sweet, and the consistency is too thick (they most likely used starch to thicken it). And I realized that overly-sweetness is actually a common theme in Thai food in Western countries, and after doing some research, the reason behind it is that for a dish like Thai Green Curry or Kaeng Khiao Wan (“Kaeng” meaning curry, “Khiao” meaning green, “Wan” meaning sweet), the sweet is usually understood too literally, when it actually meant to describe the particular color green of this curry, which is more like a cream green.
So, to make your Thai curry experience more authentic at home, we are going to make a pretty traditional Thai curry from Central Thailand, Kaeng Khiao Wan or Green Curry.
This recipe serves 4.
For The Paste, You’ll Need:
- 140 g or 5 oz Green Thai (or Birdeye) Chilies
- 4 cloves Garlic
- 5 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 Shallots
- 2 stalks Lemongrass (just the root)
- 1 thumb-sized chunk of Galangal (or ginger, they are very similar in flavor)
- 1 piece of Lime Peel
- 1 tbsp Mix Peppercorns
- 1 tbsp Shrimp Paste (or anchovy paste)
- 1/2 tbsp Rock Sugar
- 1 tsp Coriander Seed
- 1 tsp Cumin Seed
- 1 tsp Salt
For the Curry, You’ll Need:
- 1.5 kg or 3 lb of river fish (like bass, pike or carb) or fish balls
- 0.7 kg or 1.5 lb of mushroom
- 500 ml or 2 cups of seafood stock (water)
- 500 ml or 2 cups of coconut cream
- 5 – 10 stems of Thai sweet basil
- 2 red chilies
How to make this:
- First, we make the paste, roughly chop the green Thai chilies, garlic, lime leaves, shallots, lemongrass, galangal and lime peel, lightly toast the peppercorns, coriander and cumin seeds, then blend everything together with a food processor or a pestle & mortar, then add the shrimp paste, salt and sugar. Blend or smash it to an almost paste-like consistency. (At this point, you can either make the curry or freeze the paste and use it in the future)
- Bring the seafood stock to a boil, then add all paste to the stock, cook for about 8 min or until it turns to a cream like color. At this step, you can either strain the stock and make a smooth curry, or keep the small bits in there and make a more rustic version of the dish.
- Add the mushroom and fish(or fishball) to the soup, pouch both until they are cooked, then add the coconut cream, mix gently so you don’t break apart the fish. Bring the curry to a boil and remove the mixture from the heat. Add the chopped red chilies and basil leaves, sever it with some rice, and enjoy!
This is one of the easier Thai dishes, and take almost no time to cook, but it’s packed with amazing flavors and the freshness of the dish is unbelievable! The paste can be frozen into cubes and use in the future, and you can use almost any meat or mushroom or tofu you want, actually, Korean style fish cake is perfect for this dish. Give it a try, it’s really easy!