Friday, July 16, 2010

Thai Green Curry

Spicy, cleansing, delicious.  Make this now.  It's seriously terrific.

Thai Green Curry.  It has become one of my favorite dishes in the last couple years and it is amazing.  If you love spicy dishes and Thai food (as everyone should), you should love this.  If spiciness is not your thing, still make it but just use less curry paste.  If you don't like Thai food, make this dish and you WILL start liking it.  If not, give it to a friend with higher quality taste buds.  Also, we're no longer friends.
My mom and I have made Thai green curry with chicken on multiple occasions, but last night it turned out the best.  We started out originally with a recipe from a book at the library but have since adapted it to our liking, modeling it after the green curry at our best, relatively local Thai restaurant on 1767 North Texas St. in Fairfield, California called S&L Thai Restaurant.  Whenever we go we usually get the green curry, the pad thai, the citrus prawns, some sautes, eggrolls, and the papaya salad and share all of it.  I highly recommend all of the above.  Go with your whole family, an empty stomach, and be prepared for a crazy delicious feast.  I can't think of a place I've had better Thai food and especially green curry.  So many places screw it up by adding too much coconut milk or oil.  Take my advice and give S&L a try if you're in the area.
To make the green curry as we did last night, use the following ingredients:
1 1/2 Tbs vegetable oil
3 Tbsp. Thai green curry paste (we used Mae Ploy Green Curry Paste from our local Asian market)
about a pound of boneless, skinless, chicken thighs cut into 1 inch pieces
2 lemon grass stalks with the outer layer removed and chopped finely
3 Tbsp. diced shallots 
3 Tbsp. coarsely chopped garlic
1 Tbsp. finely chopped galangal (you could also use ginger)
Several lime leaves
1 tsp. fish sauce
2 tsp. sugar
a bowl* of veggies including:
-sliced pea aubergines (we actually used Japanese eggplant this time which was fine)
-sliced red and green bell peppers
1, 14 oz. can of coconut milk (use light, it's better for you)!
some coriander leaves
Thai basil leaves (or regular basil) The more the merrier!
*Recipes always call for specific amounts of ingredients, but just use as many vegetables as you want. We ended up filling a medium sized bowl with sliced egg plant and bell peppers.  You could also throw in some green beans.

Once you have all your ingredients ready, heat a wok or a large frying pan until hot, and then add the oil and green curry paste.  Stir-fry for 2 minutes and then add the chicken pieces, mixing until they are coated in the paste. 
Next add the lemon grass, shallots, garlic, galangal, lime leaves, fish sauce, sugar, and stir-fry for a minute.  
Add the pea aubergines or whatever eggplant you used and the bell peppers and pour in the coconut milk.  Lower the heat and let it all simmer for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.  Finally, add the coriander leaves and basil, stir it up, and serve nice and hot over rice!
Note: We used three tablespoons of curry paste and that was the perfect degree of spiciness for me. However, many people would consider that level of spiciness to be too spicy so if you always order mild at a restaurant, try maybe 2 tablespoons instead.  Taste the curry while you're making it and if you realize that it is too spicy you can dilute it with some more coconut milk.  Also, if you're a vegetarian, try tofu as a nice substitute for the chicken.  

Make sure you crank up the AC if it's a hot summer night because this curry will make you sweat.  The capsaicin molecule in chilis activates the same receptors as heat, known as capsaicin receptors or TRPV1 so that's why we feel hot when we eat spicy foods like this.  If you don't have air conditioning, follow this up with a session of Bikram yoga and consider your pores cleansed for the next month or so.
  Most of all, enjoy!  This really is one of my favorites so I hope you like it!

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